The statutory rape crisis: a moral panic?

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Date
2016
Authors
Buckley, Lydia
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University College Cork
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Abstract
In this thesis I argue that the statutory rape crisis which materialised following the decisions in CC v Ireland and A v The Governor of Arbour Hill Prison, was a moral panic. I also contend that Mr A, a convicted sex offender who was released during the crisis, was a folk devil. Using data obtained from an ethnographic content analysis of a selection of newspapers, interest group statements, and Oireachtas debates, I demonstrate that the social response to the statutory rape crisis exhibits the key indicators of the moral panic phenomenon put forward by Goode and Ben-Yehuda. These key indicators are: concern, consensus, hostility, disproportionality and volatility. I employ the theory of moral panic to explain why the events of the statutory rape crisis ignited such emotion and why Mr A became a folk devil of the moral panic
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Keywords
Child abuse , Moral panic
Citation
Buckley, L. 2016. The statutory rape crisis: a moral panic?. PhD Thesis, University College Cork.