Crime and Punishement - 1450-Present Day

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Crime and Punishment in 1450

Medievil Crimes and Punshments : The people who made the laws were powerful and wealthy, so crimes that threatened them were thought of as serious.

- Stealing small amounts of money, goods or food: Very common, Not serious, Punished by Fines, Stocks or Pillory.

- Selling poor quality goods or goods at wrong prices: Very common, Not serious, Punished by Fines.

- Assault: Rare, Fairly serious, Punished by Whipping, Stocks or Pillory.

- Blasphemy: Fairly common, Fairly serious, Punished by Branding.

- Theft of money/goods worth 2 days wages or more: Very Common, Very serious, Punished by Hanging.

- Arson: Rare, Very serious, Punished by Hanging.

- Rape: Rare, Very serious, Punished by Hanging.

- Murder: Rare, Very serious, Punished by Hanging.

- Heresy: Rare, Very serious, Punished by being Burnt at the Stake.

- Treason: Very rare, Exremely serious, Punished by being Hung, Drawn and Quartered.

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Justice and Catching Criminals in 1450


* Most peole lived in samll villages with a Manor Court which met frequently. By 1450, they mostly used a jury of 12 freemen to decide if someone was guilty.

* People accused of more serious crimes were sent from Manor Courts to the Royal Court, which used Trial by Jury and could sentence people to the death penalty

* Church courts dealt with Priests, Monks and Nun accused of crimes, and ordinary people who had broken Church rules.

Catching Medieval Criminals

* There were no police. The community was responsible for finding criminals through Tithings, except Clergy and Knights, who were responsible for each other.

* If one of these men was accused of a crime, the rest brought that person to justice or paid a fine to the victim.

* If a crime was commited, bystanders were expected to shout and chase the criminal (Hue & Cry)

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Changes in Crime, 1450-1750

A Changing Society... During the Middle Ages most people had lived in small villages where they knew everybody. 

Facors Affecting Crime Rates

* The number of people commiting crimes rose when; Prices and unemployment were high, and when Taxes were increased during wars.

* A strong government meant lower crime as criminals were more likely to be punished.

Why did Crime Increase?

- Increase in population and decline of feudalism meant more people moved to urban areas, so towns and cities got bigger = More street criminals and thieves (known as footpads).

- Increased unemployment meant more people moved around looking for work = Increase in begging.

- Trade between towns gre, leading to improved roads between 1700 and 1750 =  New crime of Highway Robbery.

- The end of feudalism led to a reduction in common land because land owners fenced it off = Increase in Poaching.

- Changes in people's religious beliefs and the religion of the monarch = More people commited Heresy.

- More trade restrictions (exportation, taxes) = New crime of Smuggling.

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* Begging was a new crime. Laws changed due to presure from new rulers or ordinary people. New laws created new crimes. Rulers who felt they were under threat would punish crimes very harshly to deter others.


* Increased unemployment meant higher numbers of beggars in the late 15th and 16th centuries.

* Beggars were seen as a threat to society. They were hated and feared.

* Laws were passed against begging:

- The Vagabonds & Beggars Act (1494 )- Beggars were put in the stocks for 3 days and nights, then sent back to where they were born.

- In 1531, beggars were clased as either 'Deserving' (Given a badge and allowed to beg), or 'Sturdy Beggars' (lazy).

- The Vagrancy Act (1547) meant beggars were forced to work, and could be whipped and branded. The Act was repealed as it was impossible to enforce.

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* Treason was an old crime that became more common after 1485.

* Treason charges were more common in this period because:

   - There were more disputes over who should be king. (Henry VII taking power in 1485)

   - Some people wanted a monarch with a different religion.

* At this time, treason was punished by public hanging, drawing and quartering to deter others. Nobles were usually beheaded.

The Gunpowder Plot

* On 5th November 1605, a few Catholics who wanted a Catholic Monarch planned to kill the Protestant King (James I) and Members of Parliment at the state opening of Parliment. The plotters were betrayed by Lord Cecil and one of them, Guy Fawkes, was caught in a cellar of the Houses of Parliment guarding barrels with £3,000 worth of gunpowder. When the plotters were found, they were all Hanged, drawn and quartered. Guy Fawkes was tortured for three days before hand, using the only rack in the country, in an attempt to get a confession out of him.

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Punishment, 1450-1750

* As towns grew bigger, more crimes occured. This worried those who made the laws. As a result, they increased the number of crimes carrying the death pennalty.

Types of Punishment

* Punishments were usually physical, and the public could watch - to shame the criminal and deter others. These included; Flogging, Hanging and Execution.

The Bloody Cody

* Between 1688 and 1823, the number of crimes punishable by death rose from 50 to over 200. The aim was to frighten people so they wouldn't commit crimes. However, this didn't work. Fewer people were hanged in the 18th century that the 17th because juries found people "not guilty" to avoid them being given the death pennalty.

New Punishments

* Local judges began to build Houses of Correction, where beggars were sent from 1576.

*Some petty or political criminals were sent as labourers to English colonies, from the late 1600s.

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Policing, 1450-1750

* There was no national system for catching criminals.

  - Watchmen (ste up under Charles II) were paid to patrol London.

  - Unpaid Parish officials called Constables arrested beggars and petty criminals.

  - Thief Takers were paid by the victim of a crime to catch the criminal and bring them to justice

Jonathan Wild

* Wild was a famous thief taker who claimed to have had over 60 thieves hanged, and returned stolen goods for the rewards. However, he was actually a criminal wha ran a successful gang of thieves. He caught "thieves" who were either rivals or gang members who wouldn't obey him. He was hanged in 1725.

Trials and Juries

* Minor case were heard locally by one or two Justices of the Peace. More serious crimes were heard by groups of JPs with local men serving on a jury. The most serious were heard by royal judges who were the only one able to pass the death pennalty.

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Crime, 1750-1900

Changes in Society

* The move from aggriculture to industry and from countryside to town had already begun, but increased dramatically after 1750. Crime continued to increase until 1850, when it began to fall. There were some new crimes but most crime continued to be petty theft.

Crimes against Authority

* Treason charges fell, but there were other threats. The French Revolution (1789) made the government and upper classe afraid that something similar would happen in Britain. Many people wanted reforms and the right to strike. The government was very hard on protestors but agreed to some reforms in the late 19th century, which improved conditions and reduced protests.

Crimes against the Person

* Violent crimes decreased during this period, even though many people at the time thought differently! In the late 1850s, there was concern about 'Garrotters' who used chloroform or part-strangled people to rob them. The horrific Jack the Ripper murders in 1888 were widely reported in newspapers and caused widespread fear.

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Crime, 1750-1900 - Part 2

Examples of Crimes Against Authority

* Groups who wanted the right to vote and reform of Parliment met at St Peter's Fields, Manchester

- Goverment Response: Soldiers were sent in to arrest the leaders, but behaved violently leading to deaths and injuries in what is known as The Peterloo Massacre. New laws were passed banning unauthorised meetings and increasing punishments for critisising the Government.

* Group of farm workers who formed a Trade Union to stop wage cuts in Tolpuddle, Dorset, 1833

- Government Response: The farm workers were arrested for 'Swearing secret oaths' and transported to Australia for seven years. In 1836, the government were forced to release the 'Tolpuddle Martyrs' after huge protest meetings, marches and petitions.


* Smuggling increased during the period 1740-1850 as tax on imported goods was so high. Smugglers made large profits by bringing these goods into the country illegally and selling them on cheaply. Mounted customs officers tried to stop smuggling and prosecute smugglers. They found it difficult due to the large area of coast to patrol. Taxes were cut in 1850 and smuggling decreased.

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Industrialisation, 1750-1900

The Impact of Industrialisation

* Industrialisation meant the arrival of machines and steam power for manufacturing, agriculture and transport                                                                                                                                         * People went to work in huge factories in town and cities, rather than working in their villages.        * Workers were replaced by machines in some industries and agriculture.                                          * Urbanisation as people moved into towns and cities to find work. The poor settled in poor areas where huge slums developed.                                                                                                               * Industrialisation made some people very rich but meant extreme poverty for others.                       * The Government brought in new laws or used existing ones to raise money and control people.

The Impact on Crime

* There was an increase in crimes such as: Street theft or Burglary, Drunk and disorderly behaviour, Prostitution, Rioting, public disorder and protest and Smuggling of illegal goods.

These Crimes Increased for a Number of Reasons:

* It was harder to keep track of people (travel), Larger towns made it easier to escape being caught, Extreme poverty (survival crimes), The poor worked alongside the rich.

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Policing, 1750-1900

Policing 1749-1829

* Watchmen continued to patrol cities on foot at night and Parish Constables dealt with petty crime. Soldiers were used to put down riots and large protests across the country. There were some changes in London though, as from 1749 the Bow Stree Runners tracked down criminals and stolen property. From 1754 the Bow Street Horse Patrols patrolled the streets.

The Fielding Brothers

* Henry Fielding became chief magistrate at Bow Street Court in 1748. He and his half-brother John set up the Bow Street Runners - men paid by the magistrates to catch criminals - to increase the number of criminals sent to court and tried. The brothers also set up the Bow Street Horse Patrols. However, this was less successful because crime was dramatically increasing in London and they didn't have enough patrols.

Robert Peel

* As Home Secretary, Peel pursuaded Parliment to pass the Metropolitan Police Act (1829), which set up London's first police force. He ended the 'Bloody Code' by reducing the number of death penalty offences. He also trie to reform the prison sustem with the Gaols Act, 1823.

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Punishment, 1750-1900 - Transportation


* Petty crime was growing, but so was the feeling that execution was too harsh a punishment.

* Transportation was used as an alternative to hanging because it removed criminals from British society and still acted as a deterrent.

* It also provided free labour to build infrastructure in Australia.

However, transportation ended because:

* Australia no longer needed forced labourers, the discovery of gold made it an attractive place to go and it didn't want 'Criminals'.

* Some felt it was too expensive and not a strong enough deterentfor crime, whilst others felt it was too harsh for both the criminals and their families.

* More prisons had been built and prison was increasingly used instead of transportation.

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Punishment, 1750-1900 - Prisons

* Until the late 18th century, prisons were used mainly for debtors. As the death penalty became less acceptable, other criminals were increasingly imprisoned too as it removed them from society and acted as a deterrent without killing them. In the 19th century, prison systems were developed, aimed at reforming prisoners so they wouldn't re-offend. The Separate System and The Silent System isolated prisoners from each other to encourage self-reflection and repentance. These systems were expensive and some prisons continued to use hard labour and punishments instead.

Prison Reformers

* John Howard's work led to the 1774 Gaol Act, which suggested how health and sanitation in prisons could be improved. Elizabeth Fry began visiting women in Newgate prison in 1813. She set up education classes to reform female prisoners. She also got them better food and clothes, and treated prisoners with kindness and respect.

Peel's Prison Reforms

1823 Gaols Act: Paid gaolers, work and basic education, prison inspections, visits by chaplains and doctors, women gaolers for women prisoners.

1830s: Prisoners given clean, separate cells and more work. New prison-building programme.

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Crime since 1900

* In the 20th century, Britain developed into a society that was:                                                                                                  - Multicultural, with people of different races and religions                                                                                                           - More Prosperous                                                                                                                                                                        - More equal, as the position of women changed                                                                                                                         - High-tech and fast moving                                                                                                                                                          * These changes had a big impact on crime and punishment. For example, new technology meant that new crimes developed, as did new ways of enforcing law and catching criminals.

* Common Crimes; Driving offences/ Car theft, Vandalism/ Burglary, Assault/ Mugging and Petty theft/ Anti-social behaviour

* New Crimes; Computer hacking, Race crime, Traffic crime and Sex discrimination.

Crime Rates:  Rates of crime rose between 1900 and 1992. Some suggest the main reason for this people lacking respect for others and for authority, however other factors include; Far more actions became classed as crimes, Victims of crime became more likely to report it and Ways of recording crime improved. 

New Laws:  During the 20th and 21st centuries more actions have become crimes. This is because; The government makes new laws to deal with things it is worried about, and, Public opinion pressures the government into creating new laws.

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Crime since 1900 - Part 2

* Theft has always been a common crime, however computers and modern transport have created new ways to steal. Violence too is centuries old, although modern weapons weren't available in the past. Since 1900, new crimes have emerged through social attitudes.

Social Crimes

* Smuggling or not paying enough tax are social crimes. They have happened for years, and still continue.

* Terrorism is not new but modern weapons, transport and communications mean that more ordinary people are at risk. On 7th July 2005, four suicide bombers, (claimed to be members of Al Qaeda), attacked central London. Three bombs went off on underground trains and one on a bus. Fifty-two people were killed and 770 injured.

New vs Old:

* Smuggling illegal drugs and legal items without paying tax - Smuggling illegal and legal items without pay tax has happened for centuries.

* People Trafficking - 'White slave trade'; selling women and children into prostitution in the 1800s.

* Stealing money or gaining bank details through fraud using modern communication forms - Stealing or conning money form someone using fraud has happend for hundreds of years.

* Anti-social Behaviour - Anti-social behaviour has happened for years.

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Policing since 1900

Technology has had a big impact on preventing, discovering and prosecuting crime since 1900.                                              - Radios, DNA evidence, CCTV, Computers, Cars, motorbikes and helicopters and Fingerprinting.

Changes in Policing - Much of modern policing is about preventing crime as well a catching criminals.

* Motorised transport - Police can reach criminals faster, however there are fewer officers on the streets                                 * Armed police officers                                                                                                                                                                  * The modern police force includes women and officers from different ethnic groups                                                                 * In 1982, Neighbourhood Watch groups were set up in the UK. They prevent and detect crime.                                               * In 2002 Police Community Support Officers (PCSOs) were introduced.

Terrorism - Terrorism has had a big impact on modern policing. During the 20th century, groups such as the IRA carried out attacks in Britain. In the 21st century, the threat of terrorism comes mainly from extreme religious groups such as Al Qaeda.

* The police work closely with international forces and secret intelligence services to prevent attacks and gain evidence to prosecute those planning them. They use informers and undercover police, and monitor the communications of terrorist suspects                                                                                                                                                                                        * Suicide attacks are difficult for the police to deal with as the attackers don't worry about punishment or who they taret. They want to die and kill many others in the process. They are difficult to detect because they work individually or in very small cells.

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Punishment since 1900

End of Capital Punishment - Capital punishment was last used in 1964. It was completely abolished in 1999 because:        * Ideas about punishment continued to change - reform and paying back society were now considered more important.         * Controversial cases in the 1950s led people to question the use of capital punishment:

* 1950: Timothy Evans - Hanged for murdering his wife and baby. Later, evidence proved he didn't do it.                                 * 1953: Derek Bentley - Hanged for murdering a policemen, even though he didn't fire the gun and had learning difficulties.   * 1955: Ruth Ellis - Hanged for murdering her boyfriend after he had violently abused her for years.

Prison - The use of prisons as a punishment continued to increase after 1900, with many changes.                                  Different prisons cater for different types of criminals                                                                                                                 Since 1907, prisoners have been put on probation and are put in prison if they re-offend                                                        Separate prisons have been established for young people. Borstals were set up in the early 1900s. they used work and education to try to reduce re-offending rates. Today's Young Offenders Institutions have high re-offending rates                    There has been a recent rise in female prisoners, although still only 6% of prisoners are female                                              Women's and Men's prisons differ (e.g. women can spend more time with their children)

New Punishments include; Community sentences, Treatment programmes, ASBOs and Electronic tagging.

Rehabilitation - Prisons today try to reduce re-offending rate through education and work.  However, they have mixed success rates, and the general public do not always support what can be portrayed as 'holiday camp' prisons.

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Continuity and Change


Crimes mainly stayed the same across this period. The most common crime was theft, Laws (and therefore crimes and punishments) were made by wealthy men who protected their own interests. Crime prevention was low. The aims of punishment were deterrence and retribution. Punishments were cheap and quick to carry out. Criminals were held totally responsible for their crimes - circumstances were not taken into account. The law often punishe dwomen more harshly than men. Those at the top of society were treated differently form those at the bottom.


Some changes during this time affected punishment and law. Examples include; The influence of the Christain Church from Saxon times, resulting in lower use of the death pennalty; Stability of the ruler, meant better law enforcement and therefore less crime; New rulers (especially foreign conquerors) who used harsh punishments to deter rebellions.

Key Events

Two major events had a great impact on society, and therefore on crime and punishment, during this period: the Romans leaving Britain in the 5th century and the Norman Conquest in 1066.

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Roman Britain

Roman society was; Hierarchical (The wealthy at the top and slaves at the bottom), Patriarchal (Women, children and slaves obeyed the male head of the family) and Unequal (Poverty led to crime. The wealthy had all the power).

Roman Law: - The parts of Britain ruled by Rome had one central system of law enforcement.                                                                                                                                         - Laws were written down and displayed so people knew them.                                                           - Suspects were considered innocent until proven guilty in a fair trial in a court where evidence had been presented.

Types of Crime: Petty theft, selling underweight goods and burglary. Street violence and murder were rare.

Punishments: Flogging and beating, repaying the cost of stolen goods, cutting off limbs, being sent into exile, being forced to become a gladiator and execution by varios methods.

Policing: Praetorian Guard - Only used in emergencies to protect the Emporer from riots, Urban Cohorts - Kept order by stopping riots, Vigiles - Prevented and put out fires. On patrol at night they tried to stop crimes.

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Anglo-Saxon England

Law Enforcement                                                                                                                                                                       In the Saxon period, crime victims could directly punish the criminal or their family. This could lead to Blood Fueds. Werguild payments were increaingly used as an alternative.                                                                                                                    By the year 1000, Tithings were used to give people joint responsibility for crime and punishment.                                Anyone who whitnessed a crime had to raise Hue and Cry.                                                                                                   Guilt or innocence was decided in a court by a jury of local free men. If the jury couldn't decide, the accused was handed over to the Church for trial by Ordeal.

Punishments: Fines and compensation (the most common punishment), Flogging and beatings, Confiscation of property, Cutting off hands, feet or tounge, Execution (rarely used)

The Church:                                                                                                                                                                            After the Synod of Whitby in 663, most Anglo-Saxon kings were Christian and the Church began to have a big impact on crime and punishment. The Church created new laws, which criminalised some actions and so created new crimes such as breaking Church rules during Lent. The Church preferred punishments that gave 'sinners' a chance to repent. According to the Church, innocence or guilt could be decided by God in Trial by Ordeal.

Anglo-Saxon Kings: Each knigdom was ruled by a king who was in overall charge of the law. Some later Anglo-Saxon king drew up codes of law. Most law was based on custom and not written down. The power of the kings increased, especially in later years as England became more unified.

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Norman England

William Duke of Normandy invaded England and killed the English king, Harrold Godwinson. After the Norman Conquest in 1066, England had fairly unified laws.

Power of the King                                                                                                                                * King William kept Anglo-Saxon laws and added a few more of his own. As a result, his power increased and he had far greater authority than the Anglo-Saxon kings.

Law Enforcement                                                                                                                                 * Anglo-Saxon systems of Tithings, the Hue and Cry and the court system continued, with the addition of Trial by Combat. However, more county courts were set up for serious crimes.

The Chuch - The Church increased its influence over the law after the Norman invasion. 

'Immoral' (such as sex outside marriage) actions became crimes                                                    Church courts were set up to deal with these, and for anyone not following Church rites                  All clergy could be tried in a Church court and proved their right to this by reading a passage from the Bilble. Church courts could not impose the death penalty, so some people learned a Bible passage off by heart to claim 'Benefit of Clergy'                                                                                    Nobody could be arrested if they were in a church

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Norman England - Part 2

Punishment - The Norman invasion was not welcomed by the Anglo-Saxons and there was much resistance for the first few years. Harsh punishments carried out publicly were seen as the best was to make people behave.

* Use of the death penalty rose dramatically, as did mutations and amputations.                                 * The death penalty was widened to cover more offences, including theft.                                           * Some of the worst punishments were for breaking Forest Laws.                                                        * Paying compensation to victims of crime declined.                                                                             * Very minor crimes were still punished by fines, whipping or time in the stocks or pillory.

Norman Forest Law

About 30% of England (including farms and villages) became 'Royal Forest'                                    These areas were protected by new Forest Laws                                                                                It was a crime to kill animals like deer or cut down trees without permission                                      A large network of officials policed the laws of the forest                                                                   Punishments for breaking laws of the forest were very harsh                                                              Fines and forest taxes added to the King's wealth and power.  

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Later Medieval England

Law and order completely broke down during the civil war of 1135-54. After Henry II became king in 1154, he started to restore the king's power and reduce the power of nobles.

Types of Crime: Petty theft was still the most common crime, and the Forest Laws still caused resentment. Crime in the Middle Ages was closely linked with economic conditions. When prices rose, so did crime.

Punishments: Hangings gradually decreased, but other physical punishments still continued. Fines became common. The king also pardoned some criminals. Crimes against authority were still harshly punished.

Heresy: Having religious beliefs that were different to the official religion of the state (Catholisism) was a crime against authority and punished by death.

Constitutions of Claredon - In 1164, Henry II brought together Anglo-Saxon, Norman and royal laws. This enforced the same system throughout England, which is still the basis of our Common Law today.

Law Enforcement: Hue and Cry, Tithings, Manor courts (petty crimes), Trial by Ordeal and by Combat, Justices of the Peace, Royal courts (serious crimes), Sheriff's 'Posses'.

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Witchcraft had been a crime since medieval times, but in the 16th and 17th centuries it was regarded as a more serious crime and harshly punished.

Reasons why Witchcraft became a serious crime and was harshly punished:

* Changing attitudes - As charity for the poor declined, people were affraid they may be 'cursed' by a poor person they refused to help                                                                                                  * Reputation - Women who knew about herbal medicine were either considered wise or witches     * Social changes/Tensions - Some people were accused of withcraft if others disliked them. A widow living alone was often resented because she often asked for help                                           * War - Civil conflict led people to become more suspicious of others                                                * Economic Problems - Unemployment increased, wages dropped and prices rose. Some people looked for scapegoats to blame for their bad luck                                                                                * Religion - After the Reformation, the government wanted everyone to have the same religion as the ruler. Withcraft, thereofre, becam a crime against authority rather than against religion                * Attitudes to Authority - King James I strongly believed in withcraft and wrote a book about it (Demonologie, 1597). Several JPs also believed in witches

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Withcraft - Part 2

Why Women? - Before the 20th century, women were often punished more harshly than men for crime. Over 90% of those accused of witchcraft were women.

* Women who were older or widowed often lived alone and tended to have knowledge of herbs which they made a living from                                                                                                                                                                                               * Christainity portrayed women as easily tempted by the Devil and able to make men do evil things  * According to some historians, many men feared of hated women. This is called 'Misogyny'

Evidence of Witchcraft: Unusual marks on the body, witness accounts, two proven witches swearing the accused was a witch too, 'Possessed' children acting as accusers, confessions, if they did not bleed when pricked with a needle, if they floated when thrown into water.

Changing Attitudes - Changes in the attitudes of the authorities can be seen in the decline of withcraft prosecution after the Civil War. Withcraft laws were abolished in 1736. The general public were much slower to change - unofficial withcraft trials continued during the late 1700s.

Reasons why Witchcraft stopped being a Crime - Economic and social changes: greater prosperity and political stability reduced tension. Less superstition: although some people still believed in witches and the Devil, others became less superstitious. Science: Increased experimentation from 1660 began to explain things that people previously thought were the work of witches.

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Domestic Violence

Before the 20th century most people accepted that a man had a right to beat his wife and chilren 'in moderation'.

* In the late 19th century, the law stated that violence against wives was classed as assault, but most judges only gave light punishments even for severe violence.                                                    * The 19th century saw a growth in social condemnation of 'wife beaters' by communities and in newspapers.                                                                                                                                          * During the 19th century some women campaigned for more rights but could not vote on equal terms with men until 1928.                                                                                                                    * In 1970 women were given equal pay. In 1975 discrimination against women became illegal.

Why wasn't domestic violence a crime before 1976?

* The belief that the law should not apply to private family life                                                              * Laws were made and enforced by men                                                                                               * Domestic violence in the 1800s was associated with alcohol and the working class                         * Women were too scared to speak out and make complaints against their husbands                        * Society's attitudes towards women                                                                                                    * Domestic violence in upper/middle class homes was 'invisible'

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Domestic Violence - What led to Change?

New laws and chnaging attitudes brought greater attention to domestic violence.

What led to change?

* Campaign Groups - Raised awareness and put pressure on the governmentto chnage the law. Examples include Chiswick Women's Aid set up by Erin Pizzey in 1971 and the National Women's Aid Federation set up in 1974.                       * New State Roles - It became more acceptable for the state to interfere in 'private' lives if it needed to - For example, to protect children, give unemployed people financial support and give everyone free healthcare on the NHS.                             * Female Political Power - In 1971, Jack Ashley was the first MP to raise the issue of domestic violence in Parliment.           * The Media - Newspapers and news programmes reported more incidents of domestic violence and the work of campaing groups.

These Led to...

* 1976 Domestic Violence Act: Victims could gain non-molestaion and exclusion orders                                                            * 1991: Rape within marriage became a criminal offence in England and Wales                                                                          * 1996 Family Law Act: Gave victims more protection. Arrest became automatic where violence had been used or threatened                                                                                                                                                                                     * 2004 Domestic Violence, Crime and Victims Act: Male and female victims were given the same protection. The powers of the police and courts to act increassed

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Domestic Violence - Part 3

Law Enforcement

* The 1976 Domestic Violence Act was a start, but judges were reluctant to grant exclusion orders and give police the power to arrest suspects who broke orders. Things have improved since then, with further laws and judges giving increasingly severe punishments.

Changing Attitudes

* As people increasingly thought of domestic violence as a crime, more pressure was put on law-makers to make it a crime. However, not everyone agreed - laws were resisted, particularly by some members of the police and judges.

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