The Price of Virtue: Socio-Judicial Regulation of Juvenile Sexuality in France During the First Half of the Twentieth Century
This chapter focuses on the judicial treatment of juvenile sexual activities, based on the archives of the French juvenile court of Angers from World War I to the 1940s. The new judicial system dedicated to minors, established in France in 1914, called on magistrates to take a broader view of the accused minor and of his or her family situation. This new judicial system was more empathetic, but also more inquisitive, since it increasingly aimed to protect children, even from their own environment. Depending on each minor’s situation, the court was confronted with the tension between considering these minors as actors with free will and endorsing a welfare approach that would portray them as victims of the context in which they lived.