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A fixed legal age of consent is used to determine when a person has the capacity to consent to sex yet in the late Victorian period the idea became a vehicle through which to address varied social concerns, from child prostitution and child sexual abuse to chastity and marriageability of working-class girls. This article argues that the Criminal Law Amendment Act (CLAA) 1885, the Act that raised the age of consent from thirteen to sixteen, and its application were driven by constructions ofdoi:10.1017/s073824802000005x fatcat:ke43scpifnbjrkfypnlilylx2m