Gombedza, Ruvimbo (2015) Women offenders’ and staff working with them, perspectives of desistance support. Masters thesis, University of Huddersfield.

This project intended to explore women offenders’, and staff working with them, perspectives’ of community service provision offered to assist with their desistance from crime. The research outlined classical and feminist criminological theories of women offending. It also reviewed the nature in which sociogenic, ontogenic and narrative theories of desistance relate to women offenders. The main issue that arose from the literature review was that women offenders have complex unmet needs that differ from male offenders. Therefore, they require a holistic needs gender specific approach towards tackling their offending behaviour.
The research adopted a qualitative approach in order to interpret the meanings that women offenders give to their desistance support. Semi-structured one-to-one interviews were used as the main form of data collection and an overall sample consisting of ten women offenders and five staff members was derived. Findings indicated that the women offenders, and staff, perceived available community provision as insufficient for assisting women offenders’ desistance process.
Participants predominately highlighted inhibitors to desistance. Women offenders expressed inadequate support to assist with accommodation, employment and financial needs. Limited dual diagnosis support was also noted by both staff members and women offenders’. These unmet needs corresponded with wider research on women offending. Other barriers included infantilisation of practical services offered, limited communication between staff and volunteers and lack of funding. Crucially, participants’ views highlighted that the main service providers (i.e. Probation, substance misuse programmes and women only organisations) fail to challenge the root factors associated with women offending. This contradicts with what is needed for successful desistance. The research concluded that further work is needed to develop the community service provision for women offenders. Propositions were made for local policy and practice. Also, further studies exploring the perspectives of broader population of women offenders, and the staff working with them, are warranted to advance knowledge on the effective practices needed for successful outcomes.

Ruvimbo Gombedza Amended Thesis Final.pdf - Submitted Version
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