The problem of child abuse seems to have escalated in recent years. Were there any 'battered babies' before the 1960s? Is the sexual abuse of children a recent phenomenon? The subject is often discussed in the media with little or no awareness that it has a long history.
Confronting Cruelty examines our changing understanding of what cruelty is, the continuing neglect and abuse of children in our society, and the struggle between philanthropists, social workers and other professional groups for the right to identify and treat the children who are abused.
Through the rich case records of the Children's Protection Society, Dorothy Scott and Shurlee Swain document a hundred years of child abuse, and explore how the community has responded to this ever-present social problem.