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Distributed for University of British Columbia Press

Judicial Decision Making in Child Sexual Abuse Cases

In the 1980s, Canada witnessed a public outcry over child sexual abuse cases. Elected officials sought a remedy through legal reforms. Amendments were made to the Criminal Code of Canada and sexual assault was redefined. The word “rape” was replaced with a continuum of categories intended to reflect the full range of sexually intrusive behaviours. Margaret Wright examines how the courts have dealt with child sexual abuse cases since then. She demonstrates that although the laws may have changed, their interpretation still depends on the social construction of children and on judges’ own understanding of what constitutes child sexual abuse.


208 pages


Table of Contents

Figures and Tables; Acknowledgments; Introduction

1 Recent Events

2 Asking the Questions

3 The Essential Offence

4 The Understandable Offender

5 The Invisible Victim

6 The Elevated Expert

7 The Court as a Site of Struggle Notes

References; Index

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