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This project is funded by the Nuffield Foundation and led by Lancaster University, in collaboration with the University of Bristol and Liverpool John Moores University. It will draw upon the views of care-experienced girls and women in order to consider how to disrupt the routes between care and custody. It will also draw on the perspectives of professionals.
Whilst many children in care do very well and do not come into conflict with the law, the over-representation of care experienced individuals in criminal justice settings is a persistent problem. There are limitations with the data, but the available evidence suggests that:
- Only 1% of the general population have been in care
- Up to 50% of imprisoned children have been in care
- Over a third of women in prison have been in care
However, there has been a lack of focus on the experiences of girls and women which this research will address. Following a targeted review of the literature, interviews will be completed with girls/young women with both care experience and youth justice involvement and women in prison with care experience. Interviews will also be undertaken with professionals working within the care and criminal justice systems.
In addition, documentary analysis will enable a focus on how the care system currently responds to girls’ challenging behaviour. Importantly, the project will also consider how statistical data collection on this topic could be improved.