Liverpool Law Review

, Volume 28, Issue 3, pp 425–448 | Cite as

Juvenile Criminality And Semi-Criminality: Learning From Victorian Perceptions And Responses

  • Samantha Pegg


This article focuses on media reportage of offensive juveniles, past and present, to elicit lessons that the twenty-first century can learn from the Victorian past in terms of diversionary responses. How to prevent vulnerable juveniles sliding into dangerous criminality is a continuing preoccupation: the issue explored in this article relates to the creation of the identity of the criminal juvenile. In utilising the concept of semi-criminality to label certain types of juvenile anti-social behaviour the Victorians avoided actual criminalisation of socially offensive but, in legal terms, minor behaviours. The reasons for and negative consequences of the abandonment of this concept by the modern age are explored, including the reconceptualisation of where responsibility for juvenile offending lies in the modern era.


ASBO diversionary responses industrial schools juvenile criminality juvenile delinquency parental neglect semi-criminal juveniles stereotyping juveniles welfare state 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Nottingham Law SchoolNottingham Trent University NottinghamUK

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