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Allen: Sexual Offences Prosecutions in the Late Twentieth Century

  • Caroline DerryEmail author
Chapter

Abstract

Allen marked a shift to prosecuting lesbians for sexual offences, a legal response to the growth of lesbian visibility. In 1995, the teenage defendant was imprisoned for indecent assault offences arising from her relationship with a thirteen-year-old girl. However, the shift was less radical than it might first appear: Allen’s prosecution was broadly contemporary with others reminiscent of female husband cases including those of Jennifer Saunders and Kelly Trueman. Further, although the law was formally equal for women and men accused of indecently assaulting females, sentencing approaches were very different. In particular, lesbianism was considered a source of corruption and embarrassment, seen as peculiarly aggravating factors.

Parliament, meanwhile, was moving in a more liberal direction. The Sexual Offences Act 2003 signalled a fundamental change in approach as it aimed to implement new principles of gender neutrality and equality. The chapter ends by considering how far it did so and its particular impact upon regulation of sex between women.

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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Law SchoolThe Open UniversityMilton KeynesUK

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