An analysis of high-risk offending pathways for young females in custody

Stephane M. Shepherd, Danielle Newton, Cieran Harries, Rebecca L. Fix, Rachael Fullam

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Adolescent females who have engaged in severe and/or chronic offending are an understudied population internationally. The literature on female offending pathways has indeed advanced, and there is a better understanding of how female offending behaviours manifest and how correctional agencies should be responding. However, much of the existing research has focused on the risk factors and retrospective biographical narratives of adult female offenders. The present study focused on thematically exploring the self-reported life experiences and offending pathways of 36 detained adolescent females. Findings identified multiple themes including disconnection from education, early care-giver disruption/family separation, personal and family mental health problems, poly-substance abuse, anti-social peers, victimisation and anger problems. The study identifies that early family disruption is an important factor that may contribute to later offending behaviour and other negative life events. Prevention efforts should begin with the family when it comes to high-risk young females.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)194-205
Number of pages12
JournalPsychiatry, Psychology and Law
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 4 2019


  • criminogenic needs
  • female offenders
  • gender-responsive
  • gender-specific pathways
  • risk factors

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Psychology (miscellaneous)
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Law


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