Multi-Agency Responses to the Criminalisation and Victimisation of Looked-After Children

  • Date:
  • Time: 16:00 - 17:00
  • Location: Coach House, Hillary Place
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Dr Sarah Greenhow and Dr Julie Shaw (both Liverpool John Moores University)

Abstract

It has long been acknowledged that outcomes for looked-after children compare unfavourably with children in the general population in the UK. More particularly, children in care are at risk of both criminalisation and victimisation resulting in a consequent diminution of their life chances. This paper discusses qualitative data collected in 2016-2017 through six focus groups with 36 practitioners in total, working within multi-agency settings. Participants included representatives from police, youth offending teams and social services. Practitioners felt that children in care were particularly vulnerable to certain forms of victimisation and to coming into contact with the youth justice system. Whilst multi-agency working was thought to have improved responses to these forms of vulnerability, there were challenges. This paper will make a number of recommendations, particularly in relation to recognising the vulnerability of children in care when responding to ‘criminal’ behaviour.

About the Speakers

Dr Sarah Greenhow is a lecturer in the Criminology Department at Liverpool John Moores University. Sarah’s doctoral research, completed in 2015, explored the impact of social media on post-adoption contact between adopted children and their birth relatives. Sarah is now working on two research projects relating to 1) multi-agency responses to the criminalisation and victimisation of looked-after children and 2) the relationship between children and young people’s experiences of online harm and offline socio-economic vulnerabilities.

Dr Julie Shaw is a lecturer in the Criminology Department at Liverpool John Moores University. A former probation officer who worked for a Youth Offending Team, Julie’s doctoral research explored the factors which contribute to the criminalisation of looked-after children in residential care, and she has written extensively about this subject. Set against the background of a pending national inquiry into the ‘historic’ abuse of children in care and with a view to learning from the past and improving future practice, Julie subsequently undertook a post-doctoral oral history study of children’s service’s workers’ experiences of residential child care in Scotland. Julie is now working on the research project which is the subject of this seminar, relating to multi-agency responses to the criminalisation and victimisation of looked-after children.