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Sexual crime is very much in the news, and public fear of rape and sexual abuse has almost become a panic. Practitioners, politicians and the media constantly debate its causes and the best methods of dealing with those sex offenders who are caught and convicted. Yet this debate is often fuelled by ignorance and prejudice, with little understanding of the reality of sexual crime. Acts of Abuse explores the response of the criminal justice system to the explosion of interest in sexual crime. It examines the existing research about the causes of rape and child abuse, the number of offences being committed, and the policy of the courts. It then examines in detail the responses of the probation service and the prison system to the increased number of offenders with which they are being required to deal. Written by a prominent critic of the British penal system, Acts of Abuse is the first comprehensive survey of the phenomenon of sexual crime in the British penal context. It will appeal to students and all professionals working in crime and justice.