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Vulnerable Adults and the Law$
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Jonathan Herring

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780198737278

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198737278.001.0001

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Criminal Law and the Protection of Vulnerable Adults

Criminal Law and the Protection of Vulnerable Adults

Chapter:
(p.183) 7 Criminal Law and the Protection of Vulnerable Adults
Source:
Vulnerable Adults and the Law
Author(s):

Jonathan Herring

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198737278.003.0007

This chapter describes the concept of vulnerability as it is understood in criminal law by examining two main themes: protection and paternalism. On the one hand, criminalizing offences which are seen to harm vulnerable people can be seen as a benefit to them in that it recognizes harms that previously went under-acknowledged. Victims can receive the help they need; the public are informed about the dangers of these crimes for vulnerable people; people know to look out for friends and relatives who may be victims; and there is a public acknowledgement and response to the wrong behaviour. On the other hand, a law which might be designed to protect a vulnerable group may at the same time restrict the freedom of members of that group. The chapter examines these themes through two issues which illustrate these difficulties well: prostitution and prosecution of domestic abuse.

Keywords:   vulnerable, exploitation, criminal, homicide, manslaughter, rape, consent, theft, fraud

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