We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. By continuing to browse this repository, you give consent for essential cookies to be used. You can read more about our Privacy and Cookie Policy.

Durham e-Theses
You are in:

Women making meaning of their desistance from offending: an interpretative phenomenological analysis

GOMM, REBECCA,MARIA (2016) Women making meaning of their desistance from offending: an interpretative phenomenological analysis. Doctoral thesis, Durham University.

PDF (Women making meaning of their desistance from offending: an interpretative phenomenological analysis. Main thesis doc) - Accepted Version


It is recognised that women who have offended comprise a vulnerable group having commonly experienced trauma and abuse. However, the dominant risk paradigm and assessment tools used within the Criminal Justice System have excluded women offenders in the research base. Similarly, current approaches to desistance, which is concerned with the cessation of offending, have neglected the perspective of women offenders. This study explores an alternative approach, based upon women offenders perspectives, to inform upon intervention and support which encourages desistance from offending.

Resilience theory provides a broad framework for the study, in which in depth interviews were conducted with a purposeful sample of 15 ethnically diverse women drawn from probation services and third sector agencies. Documentary records which included offence history and Probation assessment records were utilised to provide a rich context to the research. Interpretative phenomenological analysis was used to explore the women’s experiences and understandings of their offending behaviour, as well as how they found meaning in the support and interventions received from these services. Findings revealed complex histories of childhood neglect and abuse, interpersonal violence in adult relationships, including rape and mental health needs. Of particular importance was the value placed by the women on interventions and approaches that focussed on enabling them to build resilience, through relational resources and self-efficacy beliefs. Barriers to building resilience were related to adaptive behaviours, including the understanding that trust in relationships was paradoxical. Another barrier was posed through lack of self-efficacy beliefs. The study concludes that desistance from offending is underpinned by the process of building resilience for recovery in women offenders. It is recommended that building resilience to support the recovery journey is translated into policy and practice and that the way in which women offenders are assessed based on risk to the public is reconceptualised to inform this.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Philosophy
Keywords:PhD, resilience, women, desistance, criminal justice, offenders, victims, trauma, IPA, interpretative phenomenological analysis, self-efficacy, sexual abuse, rape, domestic violence, neglect, diverse
Faculty and Department:Faculty of Social Sciences and Health > Applied Social Sciences, School of
Thesis Date:2016
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:24 May 2016 08:43

Social bookmarking: del.icio.usConnoteaBibSonomyCiteULikeFacebookTwitter