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Victoria - Glossary Term

Vagrancy (c. 1864 - )

c. 1864
Glossary Term
Alternative Names
  • Vagrant

Vagrancy is a term to describe the criminalisation of poverty. An adult convicted of vagrancy could have their children committed to the state under child welfare legislation. In the 1800s, vagrancy was an offence whereby people could be imprisoned for being without visible means of support. After 1864, laws authorised the transfer of 'neglected children' into care if they lived with an adult convicted of vagrancy. The 1954 Children's Welfare Act judged that a child who 'lives or resides or wanders about with vagrants could be deemed to be a 'child in need of care and protection'.

Related Legislation


Online Resources

Prepared by: Nell Musgrove