By Anne-Marie Kilday
This paintings offers an in depth heritage of infanticide in mainland Britain from 1600 to the trendy period for the first actual time. It examines continuity and alter within the nature and features of new-born baby homicide in Scotland, England and Wales over a chronology of greater than 4 centuries. along providing a comparative research of the categories of people suspected of the offence, and an in depth appreciation of the several ways that the crime was once conducted, the paintings additionally exposes the extensive nexus of causal elements which underpinned its enactment. additionally, the paintings investigates the evolving perspective in social, clinical and criminal contexts to the killing of younger babies in Britain over a substantive period of time. therefore the paintings as a complete is either compelling and cutting edge because it presents the reader with even more than an insignificant historical past of infanticide. The booklet additionally contributes a lot to our knowing of felony historical past, gender background, felony background, clinical historical past and social background in its analyses of different contexts allied to the offence. It does this additionally via its exploration of the advanced features of accusers, commentators and perpetrators throughout cultures, borders and time.
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Extra resources for A History of Infanticide in Britain, c. 1600 to the Present
Although the statutory provision remained steadfast in 1772, it was not long before dissatisfaction with legislation was renewed. Indeed, over the four centuries since 1624 there has rarely been a time when authoritative, legislative and popular opinion towards the crime of new-born child murder has remained either unequivocal or uncontroversial. 89 From the bastardy and concealment-focused legislation of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, through the legislative reforms and attempts to protect infant life in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, to the preoccupation with 22 A History of Infanticide in Britain understanding the psycho-social causes of infanticide in the present day, new-born child murder has endured as a tragic but fascinating component of criminal history.
Of the 480 cases of infanticide indicted at the Scottish Justiciary Courts between 1700 and 1820, for instance, 93 per cent of those accused were employed in domestic service. 101 The high incidence of domestic servants as leading protagonists in recorded episodes of infanticide is the third typical characteristic of this offence which will be examined in this chapter. One reason why so many domestic servants were indicted for new-born child murder relates to the broad definition of their occupational status.
28 The potential invisibility of new-born child murder is especially acknowledged for the early modern period, when the birthing process was carried out in private and when methods of criminal detection were primitive and haphazard. C. ’29 Even when cases were brought to court, it was often very difficult to determine whether a deliberate act of criminality had taken place, whether a fatal accident had occurred or whether the child had tragically died under nonsuspicious circumstances, such as still-birth.