In the past single mothers had a very low state in all European countries. In certain times and states they had to endure public punishment (house of correction, flogging, etc.) (Peiper 1966 p. 234). The severity of the sanctions varied according to different eras but also according to differences between regions and individual social classes. In the poorer classes single mothers were more readily accepted (Elliot 1986; Trost 1989).