Working with female offenders in care: The perspectives of practitioners from youth offending teams

Humphery, Donna-Maree (2019) Working with female offenders in care: The perspectives of practitioners from youth offending teams. Doctoral thesis, University of East Anglia.

[thumbnail of 2019HumphreyDPhD.pdf]
Download (2MB) | Preview


There have been significant concerns about the rates of offending among young people in care, highlighted by the Laming review (2016). However, there is an absence of evidence on how this vulnerable group of young offenders are supported, especially young women in care. This thesis reports on a qualitative study which explores youth offending professionals’ experience of working with female offenders who are in care and fills a significant gap in the literature in relation to specific gendered approaches in this area of contemporary youth offending practice.

The study was conducted in three local authorities, using semi-structured interviews with 20 youth offending practitioners from varied professional backgrounds. The experiences and perceptions explored in these interviews are analyzed using thematic methods to provide rich insights into frontline youth offending practice with young female offenders from care.

The findings suggest that practice with this group of young women is distinctive in prioritizing complex welfare needs related to their trauma histories as a route to addressing offending. This is managed in practice through developing strong and supportive relationships, which are a foundation to further work. Because of this relationship, youth offending practitioners often position themselves as the primary professional addressing the welfare needs of the young women in care, which has implications for inter-agency working.

This research argues that an explicit trauma informed approach would helpfully reframe youth offending practice and allow practitioners to navigate the inherent tension in the care and control dichotomy, creating relationships that are containing, predictable and safe for young women in care with histories of trauma. This approach to practice needs to be intersectional so that experiences of minority groups such as BAME young people do not get lost. Taking a trauma informed approach will rely on practitioners across the youth justice system accessing appropriate training and support.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Social Sciences > School of Social Work
Depositing User: Jennifer Whitaker
Date Deposited: 22 Mar 2021 14:29
Last Modified: 22 Mar 2021 14:29


Downloads per month over past year

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item