Skip to main content

The treatment by the criminal justice system, the press, politicians and the public of children who kill in England: the role of differing concepts of childhood, 1800-2000

Vassiliou-Lefkariti, Elena (2016) The treatment by the criminal justice system, the press, politicians and the public of children who kill in England: the role of differing concepts of childhood, 1800-2000. Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) thesis, University of Kent,. (KAR id:60417)

PDF
Language: English
Download (1MB) Preview
[thumbnail of 87Elena Vassiliou Thesis- post viva corrections.pdf]
Preview
This file may not be suitable for users of assistive technology.
Request an accessible format

Abstract

The thesis investigates whether the treatment by the criminal justice system of children who kill in England, starting with the commencement of the police investigation into their crime and ending with the completion of their trial and sentencing processes, has differed over time and if so, the reasons for these differences. It does so by placing a special focus on the adoption of four different concepts of the child, which it develops using the extensive literature available. It carries out its analysis through the exploration of five case studies of children who killed between 1800 and 2000, including the notorious 1993 case of the killing of James Bulger. The thesis draws associations between the approach of different elements of the criminal justice system towards these children and the four concepts of the child and examines their movement over time. It also conducts a comparative analysis with the approaches of the press, public reaction and politicians towards these children, by drawing equivalent associations and observing how they evolve over time. Simultaneously, it observes particular features of the different fields in order to determine their influence over those associations. The thesis concludes that the treatment of these children by the criminal justice system was associated with the various concepts of the child to different degrees over time, though the changes and movements have been to a large extent gradual, unemotional and informed. It also argues that during the late 20th century the approaches of the press, politicians and the public became more erratic and emotional and hence came to deviate substantially from the approach of the criminal justice system. The politicisation of crime, the intense competitiveness of the press and the growing involvement and reactions of the public in matters of juvenile crime, which constituted changes in the three fields during the 1990s, are believed to be instrumental in this divergence. Its findings constitute a platform on which a framework for reform of the treatment within the criminal justice system of children who kill can be founded in the future.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctor of Philosophy (PhD))
Thesis advisor: Hunter, Rosemary
Thesis advisor: Dickson, Lisa
Uncontrolled keywords: Children who kill, concepts of childhood, criminal justice system, press, politicians, public opinion, John Any Bird Bell, Peter Barratt, James Bradley, Margaret Messenger, Mary Bell, Jon Venables, Robert Thompson, James Bulger, child offenders, age of criminal responsibility, doll incapax presumption.
Subjects: K Law
Divisions: Divisions > Division for the Study of Law, Society and Social Justice > Kent Law School
Depositing User: Users 1 not found.
Date Deposited: 16 Feb 2017 16:00 UTC
Last Modified: 16 Feb 2021 13:43 UTC
Resource URI: https://kar.kent.ac.uk/id/eprint/60417 (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
  • Depositors only (login required):