A new Victorian era: Getting crime out of commercial sex

Adam Masters, Adam Graycar

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


Approaches to social crimes differ widely around the world, with different cultures applying their own standards of what is, or is not, acceptable behaviour. In Australia, the states and territories have been changing their outlook on the sale of sexual services (sex work), those who sell these services (sex workers) and their working environment (brothels). As a multi-jurisdictional federation, there is little consistency to the changes or how commercial sex is treated by the law and police. This chapter explores one type of social crime—commercial sex—and the effects of decriminalisation in the state of Victoria, Australia. Shifting sex work from the criminal law to a more administrative environment makes it a candidate for the process of crime-proofing legislation, a process under theoretical development in Europe aimed at minimising the unintended criminogenic effects of legislative action. We ask how successful is decriminalisation in preventing the criminality associated with commercial sex and whether decriminalisation will prevent or increase such criminality.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCrime Prevention in the 21st Century
Subtitle of host publicationInsightful Approaches for Crime Prevention Initiatives
EditorsBenoit Leclerc, Ernesto U. Savona
Place of PublicationSwitzerland
PublisherSpringer International Publishing
Number of pages36
ISBN (Electronic)9783319277936
ISBN (Print)9783319277912
Publication statusPublished - 2017


  • Social crime
  • Crime prevention
  • Decriminalisation
  • Prostitution
  • Sex work
  • Brothels


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