‘Us Girls Won’t Put One Another Away’: relations among Melbourne’s prostitute pickpockets, 1860–1920

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Women's History Review, 2018, 27 (2), pp. 247 - 265
Issue Date:
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© 2017 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group. Larceny from the person, or pickpocketing, was the most common form of indictable crime committed by female offenders in turn-of-the-century Melbourne. It was an offence particularly likely to appear within the criminal careers of recidivist female offenders. Female pickpocketing, however, was notoriously difficult to prosecute. The usual differences found in trial outcomes for men and women were exacerbated by the specific contexts in which such robberies occurred, that is in the context of solicitation or sex work. This not only meant victims were reluctant to prosecute, but that women’s offending often took place within criminal subcultures that fostered interpersonal relationships between women that served to support them throughout the commission of the crime and during the trial process.
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