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LISTENING TO YOUNG WOMEN IN POLICE CUSTODY
Mental health needs and the police response
Matina Marougka and Rachel Cass
INDEPENDENT ACADEMIC RESEARCH STUDIES
LISTENING TO YOUNG WOMEN IN POLICE CUSTODY
Mental health needs and the police response
Matina Marougka and Rachel Cass
Independent Academic Research Studies (IARS) With support from Together: for mental wellbeing and with funding from the Big Lottery Fund and the Mayor’s Ofﬁce for Policing and Crime
Independent Academic Research Studies (IARS) PUBLICATIONS 159 Clapham Road, London SW9 0PU, United Kingdom +44(0) 20 7820 0945, email@example.com www.iars.org.uk IARS is a leading, international think-tank with a charitable mission to give everyone a chance to forge a safer, fairer and more inclusive society. IARS achieves its mission by producing evidence-based solutions to current social problems, sharing best practice and by supporting young people to shape decision making. IARS is an international expert in restorative justice, human rights and inclusion, citizenship and user-led research. IARS’ vision is a society where everyone is given a choice to actively participate in social problem solving. The organisation is known for its robust, independent evidencebased approach to solving current social problems, and is considered to be a pioneer in user-involvement and the application of user-led research methods
Published in the UK by IARS Publications © 2012 IARS The moral rights of the author have been asserted Database right IARS Publications (maker) First published 2012 All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, without the prior permission in writing of IARS Publications, or as expressly permitted by law, or under terms agreed with the appropriate reprographics rights organisation. Enquiries concerning reproduction outside of the scope of the above should be sent to IARS at the address above. You must not circulate this book in any other binding or cover and you must impose the same condition on any acquirer. British Library Cataloguing in Publication Data Design: dennis@kavitagraphics. Printed in the UK by Russell Press ISBN (in print) 978-1-907641-13-8 (online resource) 978-1-907641-12-1
ii Listening to young women in police custody
INDEPENDENT ACADEMIC RESEARCH STUDIES
Table of Contents
Preface & Acknowledgements: Professor Dr. Theo Gavrielides, IARS Founder and Director Foreword: Alison Saunders, Chief Crown Prosecutor for London Chapter 1: Introduction, Problem Statement & Research Methodology 1.1 Introduction 1.2 Problem statement 1.3 Methodology 1.4 Limitations and challenges Chapter 2: Understanding Mental Health Issues Amongst Young Women Who Offend 2.1 Deﬁning mental health 2.2 Risk assessment and police custody 2.3 General characteristics of girls’ offending 2.4 Factors for offending 2.5 Mental health needs 2.6 Substance abuse 2.7 Interventions 2.8 Summary of the literature Chapter 3: Findings From The Fieldwork: Young Women’s Experiences of Identiﬁcation and Provision of Support for Mental Health Needs in Police Custody 3.1 An overview of the research participants 3.1.1 Participants’ state of mental health 3.1.2 Participants’ experiences of abuse 3.1.3 Participants’ experiences of illegal substance and alcohol use 3.1.4 Participants’ history of offending 3.2 Young women’s experience of being questioned about their health in police custody 3.3 The experience of young women who have repeat offended 01 04 07 07 08 10 14
15 15 15 17 19 23 24 25 28
31 31 31 32 32 33 33 35 iii
Mental health needs and the police response
3.4 Young women’s attitudes towards the police 3.5 Provision of health services in police custody 3.5.1 Impact of being in police custody on young women’s state of mental health 3.5.2 Receiving information about useful services upon leaving police custody 3.6 Cultural sensitivities towards young women in police custody 3.7 Young women’s preferences for support whilst in police custody 3.7.1 The role of female police ofﬁcers in supporting young women in police custody 3.7.2 Young women’s interest in talking to a third party about their needs whilst in police custody Chapter 4: Discussion & Recommendations 4.1 Addressing inconsistencies in the treatment of repeat offenders 4.2 Providing appropriate space and supervision for discussing mental health problems 4.3 Considering the cultural and religious circumstances of young women in police custody 4.4 Identifying needs speedily 4.5 Addressing inconsistencies in information provided to young women about mental health services 4.6 Following up on disclosures around young women’s state of mental health Chapter 5: Concluding Thoughts Bibliography Appendix A: About IARS Appendix B: About Together: for mental wellbeing Appendix C: About the authors and delivery staff
36 37 39 40 41 42 42 43 45 45 47 49 50 51 52 55 57 63 64 65
iv Listening to young women in police custody
Tables and Chart Table 1: Breakdown of age and borough of residency of the research sample Figure1: Age and gender of young people in youth offending teams caseloads Figure 2: Trends in arrests of young people for notiﬁable offences by gender. between 2001/01 and 2009/10 Figure 3: Frequency of young people’s contact with youth offending teams: broken down by gender and ethnicity 13 17 18 22 v Mental health needs and the police response .
vi Listening to young women in police custody .
however. This number is even smaller when looking at the secure estate and it becomes even less signiﬁcant when looking at arrests and police custody. should amount to an outcome that is as shameful as the criminal act itself.Preface & Acknowledgements: Professor Dr. Theo Gavrielides. Continue treating them as mere numbers and the vicious cycle of re-offending will continue. It is them who made this book special and IARS proud for remaining faithful to its vision of “Giving everyone a chance to forge a better society”. Secondly. direct involvement and trust of young female offenders facing mental health problems. Firstly. age and offending was not easy. and this book comes to strengthen one of the key arguments from that publication. would not have been possible without the dedication. We recently published Restorative Justice in the Secure Estate focusing on the incarceration of young people. it brings to the fore gender related issues for a male dominated criminal justice system. drug abuse. which continues to treat its service users as numbers rather than as individuals with their own personal circumstances and characteristics. this book acts as an aid in developing strategies and a direction for better service delivery. But as a nation who is proud of its international achievements in developing the narrative and legislative framework for human rights. Combining such a sensitive research area with questions around gender. alcoholism or indeed offending and re-offending. As we become more honest about gender inequality and start to acknowledge the signiﬁcance of the particular circumstances surrounding offending by young females. the book tackles with the issue of mental health honestly and frankly in a society that has traditionally shied away from its consequences let those be self-harm. When users of the criminal justice system are listened to and their needs are carefully considered. The publication of this book could not have been more timely for a number of reasons. others came from the IARS team. Some did so in a voluntary capacity. suicides. a single violation of the basic needs and rights of a vulnerable female while in the hands of the state. A number of people worked hard to collect the evidence that form its ﬁndings and recommendations. The ﬁnal product. the chances of working effectively with them are massively increased. IARS Founder & Director I t is a great pleasure to introduce our new book Listening to Young Women in Police Custody. It is true that female offenders occupy only a small fraction of criminal justice services in England and Wales. 1 Mental health needs and the police response .
Despite its limitations. Saﬁa Shahnawaz. To this end. We would also like to thank Jane Namugwana. we pioneer a number of user-led and youth-led research methods and this book was based on one of these. that the questions and issues raised will act as the stimuli for further research and debate not just among experts but also the public. Annalise Amoako. Krystal Sommah and Jocelyn Xavier for their on-going commitment to the project and for contributing to the design and ﬁeldwork phases of the research. 2 Listening to young women in police custody . We do hope. The tragic series of six deaths at Styal prison in 2003 cannot be repeated. Although the need to take a radical new approach to address complex and multiple needs of female offenders was highlighted. Falastin Ahmed and Muna Said who contributed as peer researchers during the design phase of the project. political and economic environment that was putting pressure on all public authorities to cut costs while increasing efﬁciency. In particular. the government’s report on progress is poor. Muna Omar. As noted. I hope that this report will help government ofﬁcials and others internationally to develop policies. user-led research can provide the tools for generating bottom up solutions to issues that experts have tried to address for years. Asha Ali. Awel Akai. which have been made across departments. strategies and practices that will enable them to materialize their promises to vulnerable women who ﬁnd themselves in police custody. It is also worth highlighting the methodology that was adopted. the users had to be empowered so that they could form their own conclusions.While carrying out this project our objectives were clear. the right language and direct experience lead to decisions that are removed from the reality of the actual people whose lives are being affected. The government set out its commitments. complexities and risks. The lack of empathy. As a think-tank with a mission to generate community-led solutions to crime. Grace Anstey. however. We acknowledge that the book merely scratches the surface of a complicated and under-researched topic. The human rights and other violations that are recorded in this book must become lessons and a testimony that progress has been slow. Andrea Charalambous. We wanted to create new knowledge that will help improve practice and policy. The backdrop for the project was a policy. we would like to thank Tosin Ajaayi. Meghan Bidwell. the project would not have been possible without the dedication of the young women who made up the peer-research team. Shruti Morzaria. The research was also informed by key institutional and policy initiatives such as the Baroness Corston 2007 review of women in the criminal justice system. Kamer Dunnus. Sophie O’Neil.
Above all. In particular we would like to thank Tamsin Kelland from MOPAC for her support and advice throughout the project. Thelma Mathews of Off Centre. Many thanks also to Together: for mental wellbeing where she is based. Rachel Cass. Probation Services Tower Hamlets. many thanks go to two of my IARS staff members. The Jagonari Women’s Education Resource Centre (Tower Hamlets). I am very proud of them all and I want to congratulate them on this important achievement. The Minerva Project (Hammersmith and Fulham). Lewis Parle. This project would not have been a success without guidance from our Programme Director. Much gratitude is given to our Research Associate Matina Marougka for leading on the project and co-authoring this book. Sharon Harambee of the Minerva Project and Jo Whitehouse and Ellie Whitﬁeld of Clean Break for supporting the young women they work with to participate in the research. we would like to thank the research participants who gave up their time and were willing to share their experiences of police custody with the peer research team. Thanks must be given to Dennis Rudd of Kavita Graphics who is credited with the design of this publication. We recognise the bravery that it takes to share such experiences. who led on the writing of the book as well as Holly Challenger who coordinated the volunteers and helped with the ﬁeldwork. namely: Hillingdon Youth Offending Team. We are grateful to the Big Lottery Fund for providing us with funding in order to support the peer research team and to the Mayor’s Ofﬁce for Policing and Crime (MOPAC) for funding this project through the Cross Border Innovation Fund. Off Centre (Hackney). Finally. In particular we would like to thank Shirley Simpson of Hillingdon Youth Offending Team. Clean Break (Camden) and Vision Housing (Merton). August. We would like to thank those organisations that supported us by encouraging the young women they worked with to participate in the research. 2012 Theo Gavrielides 3 Mental health needs and the police response . particularly during the ﬁeldwork phase of the research. who also helped to raise the funds that enabled the charity to run it.
Foreword: Alison Saunders. It is also true that recognition is growing regarding the need for a distinct and targeted response from criminal justice service providers including the CPS and the police. We do not wish to see a rise in the numbers of vulnerable young women passing through the courts in the UK. We do acknowledge that more cross-sector. Here at CPS London. and this book helps us understand some of the challenges in doing so. From the CPS perspective. Furthermore. Listening to Young Women in Police Custody also draws valuable conclusions regarding equality issues affecting young women being assessed for mental health D 4 Listening to young women in police custody . Chief Crown Prosecutor for London espite representing a small proportion of criminal cases. we acknowledge the importance of working with communities and we are grateful for IARS’ input and work through our Scrutiny and Involvement Panel. Recommendations regarding the need for a more gender sensitive approach to encouraging young women to talk about their mental health needs whilst in police custody are particularly welcome. ensuring that young women can avoid contact with the court system after their ﬁrst contact with the police is of the utmost importance. multi-agency partnerships need to be formed. young female offenders are generating increasing attention from policy makers in a bid to better understand their needs and offending behaviour. as this book highlights. The ﬁndings from IARS’ new peer-led investigation make a valuable contribution to the policy landscape affecting the treatment of young women with mental health needs when they ﬁrst come into contact with the criminal justice system. There is no doubt that there is still some way to go to ensure that the needs of young women with mental health problems are adequately understood by criminal justice professionals in London and more widely. identiﬁcation of mental health needs amongst young women in police custody must provoke immediate action to direct them to appropriate service providers outside of the criminal justice system. This book brings evidence to this claim and helps us understand the caveats in service provision at a critical point in time for policy making and reform nationally and internationally. The book highlights the centrality of gender as an issue for consideration in the design and delivery of services in police custody. Placing an emphasis on the welfare needs of young women displaying complex mental health problems. has the potential to prevent the needless criminalisation of a signiﬁcant proportion of girls who ﬁnd themselves in the vicious circle of re-offending and disadvantage. such as self-harm.
Not only do the ﬁndings reﬂect the importance of listening to the voices of users in generating solutions for reducing offending. the cases drawn upon in this book of young Muslim women having their headscarves removed whilst in police custody and being subjected to intrusive questioning regarding their sexual health in front of male relatives highlight the need for not only gender but also cultural sensitivities to be considered in the design of systems and procedures. Findings regarding the treatment of young black and minority ethnic women when being questioned and dealt with due to mental health problems highlight the need for a more specialist approach to working with offenders who do not conform to stereotypical offender proﬁles. Recommendations around the need for speciﬁc training for ofﬁcers with regards to gender sensitivities. I congratulate the peer research team at IARS who carried out this investigation. The original approach taken to explore the issue of young women and mental health in police custody represents an invaluable contribution to criminal justice policy.problems whilst in police custody. should resonate beyond the police to all service providers. August 2012 Alison Saunders 5 Mental health needs and the police response . This book brings forth the issues of gender and mental health as key considerations for achieving a more effective criminal justice system that supports individuals in moving away from their offending behaviour rather than ﬁnding more opportunities to give harsher penalties and sentences. I look forward to continue working with IARS and other stakeholders in taking the recommendations from this report forward. It therefore gives me great pleasure to be introducing IARS new book. including understanding offending behaviour amongst young women and being more readily able to identify mental health problems. For instance. but the adopted methodology also highlights how IARS’ vision of community-led solutions can be realised through user.led research such as this. There is a danger in implementing policies and practices within the criminal justice services which treat offenders as a homogenous group.
6 Listening to young women in police custody .
In particular the research sought to disclose the ideas of young women with experience of police custody regarding how they felt the police could better recognise and provide support for young women with mental health needs.1 Introduction T his research investigation was undertaken between March 2011 and March 2012. Such services can only be provided if the needs of women are effectively and appropriately identiﬁed. The National Offender Management Service (NOMS) Business Plan 2012 – 13 highlights their commitment to improving outcomes for female offenders by enhancing speciﬁc services. as well as data indicating whether these needs were being identiﬁed and appropriately met. This research therefore represents a move towards ensuring improved mechanisms for identifying the mental health needs of young women in police custody to ensure that they are dealt with based on their needs as women not as generic offenders. with support from Together: for mental wellbeing. A gap was identiﬁed in research around the experiences of girls and young women with mental health needs in police custody (their ﬁrst point of contact with the Criminal Justice System (CJS)). a national mental health charity. The impetus for the research came from Together: for mental wellbeing’s experience of court diversion schemes in East London where they provided psychological support to women. From an equalities perspective it is of paramount importance that the speciﬁc needs of young women are considered by criminal justice service providers. at all stages of the criminal justice process. This commitment reﬂects the importance of gender speciﬁc services for young women in the CJS. Problem Statement & Research Methodology Chapter 1: Introduction. for all women (NOMS. with funding from the Metropolitan Police Authority (now the Mayor’s Ofﬁce for Policing and Crime) by international think-tank IARS. Identifying and addressing any underlying issues which may be impacting on a young woman’s offending behaviour whilst in police custody is of pivotal importance for ensuring effective reintegration and preventing them from becoming involved in future offending. This research investigation therefore sought to explore this gap. The identiﬁcation of mental health needs amongst young women in police custody is also crucial for ensuring their safety and wellbeing whilst under police supervision. 2012).Introduction. 7 Mental health needs and the police response . Problem Statement & Research Methodology 1.
Yet. the relatively small number of young women in the CJS has meant that their needs are often overlooked and that there are few gender-speciﬁc services being made available to them (APPG. 8 Listening to young women in police custody . reprimands or conditional cautions fell by 38 per cent (Youth Justice Board. we know that the average age of a young female offender is 15 (Youth Justice Board. 2012). The complex and specialist needs of many young women who offend reﬂect both past and current events and pose speciﬁc challenges to providers of criminal justice services. Further. 2012). The report also indicated that psychological disturbance was exhibited in 78 per cent of women in prison. despite this fall in numbers. 2007). These experiences represent important considerations for their resettlement and reintegration as well as their treatment whilst in police custody. The overall number of young women (aged 10 – 17 years) involved in offending is low compared to the available statistics on young males. 2012). In addition. experienced signiﬁcant bereavement and loss and have witnessed violence within their families (Youth Justice Board. Young women tend to commit offences related to property. Such experiences can also have a profound impact on women’s state of emotional and mental health. compared to 15 per cent of the general population (Corston. 2009). In 2009/10 three per cent of all arrests made in England and Wales were of young women (Youth Justice Board. highlighting that these women tend to be more than ﬁve times as likely to suffer from a mental health complaint as women in the general population (Corston. For instance. shoplifting and frauds rather than those of a violent nature more often associated with young males (McIvor. 2007). 2009). 2012). Problem Statement & Research Methodology 1. Despite some progress.Introduction. Although these statistics relate to women of all ages in custody they provide an important insight into the state of mental health of many women throughout the CJS. Between 2009/2010 and 2010/2011 the number of young women given ﬁnal warnings.2 Problem Statement Young women’s offending behaviour and subsequent interaction with the CJS. many young female offenders have been abused. we are also yet to develop robust and evidence-based knowledge on the specialist services that are needed for their re-integration. 1998). behaviour which is deemed to contradict gender stereotypes is causing girls to be more ﬁrmly and harshly dealt with across the CJS (APPG. as well as their specialist needs and circumstances have come to the fore as a complex social policy issue. The Corston report (2007) provided a valuable insight into the mental health needs of women in custody.
Further. There is signiﬁcant concern around the placing of children in police custody in cells with adults or in a cell at all if secure waiting rooms are available to be used instead (Howard League for Penal Reform. Problem Statement & Research Methodology Psychological problems facing young women who offend can manifest in multiple ways. 2011). 2011). 2012). 53 000 children were detained overnight in police custody. Issues around self-harm and attempted suicide are also prominent amongst young women who have offended. 2012). For example. 21% of whom were female (Howard League for Penal Reform. 2011). Between 2008 and 2009. including an understanding of mental health issues (The Prison Reform Trust. particularly local women’s centres and women’s projects (The Prison Reform Trust. Should the police deem an individual to be in need of immediate care or control due to their state of mental health they can remove that individual from police custody to a place of safety for their protection and that of others (Home Ofﬁce. 2012). Appropriate Adults must be present during the questioning and searching of anyone under the age of 18 and mentally vulnerable individuals to ensure that they understand what is happening (Home Ofﬁce. 29 per cent of young women who offend have self-harmed in comparison to nine per cent of young men (Youth Justice Board. 9 Mental health needs and the police response .Introduction. 2011). They further stated the importance of basic training being made available to the police around women’s offending and local referral services for vulnerable women. Our main target group was those young females who were faced with mental health problems. The most recent statistics from the Youth Justice Board (2012) also indicate that ﬁfteen per cent of young females compared to ﬁve per cent of young males who offend have previously attempted suicide. There is greater prevalence of emotional and mental health problems amongst young women with 41 per cent having such needs identiﬁed in comparison to 26 per cent of young males who come into contact with Youth Offending Teams (YOTs) (Youth Justice Board. Individuals are usually kept in cells whilst in police custody. 72 per cent of young females were assessed as demonstrating “aggression towards others” including verbal and physical aggression in comparison to 56 per cent of young males (Youth Justice Board. In 2011 the Women’s Justice Taskforce expressed the need for there to be greater understanding amongst the police – and leadership from the Home Ofﬁce – around what causes women to offend. 2012). Such statistics provide a snapshot of the emotional and mental health issues facing young women across all stages of the CJS. As the ﬁndings of our research show there is however limited research on how the mental health needs of young women are identiﬁed and met in police custody. 2012). This book focuses on the experiences of young female offenders while in police custody.
3 Methodology The starting point for our investigation was the undertaking of a detailed literature review in order to establish a clear picture of current levels of understanding around young women in the CJS. 1. and after leaving. Problem Statement & Research Methodology With regards to the treatment of young women and girls in police custody. it is a requirement under section 31 of the Children and Young Persons Act 1933 that all girls under the age of 17 be placed under the care of a woman when conveyed. female members of IARS’ research team stepped in to lead interviews with the young women. the peer research team were young women of a similar age to the research participants although they did not necessarily have any history of mental health problems or offending. A group of young female volunteers of the same age group as the research participants (16-25) and from a mix of socio-economic backgrounds were recruited to be peer researchers. Within the context of this research investigation. 2012).Introduction. However. the participants felt a sense of alienation and unease. Previous experience and feedback from research participants on similar projects indicated that where professional researchers were used. This analysis of secondary data provided a crucial underpinning to the ﬁeldwork phase of the investigation. Further. 10 Listening to young women in police custody . detained or waiting to be detained (National Policing Improvement Agency. where the peer research team were unable to undertake the fieldwork. The principal reason for this approach was due to the sensitive nature of the research topic (mental health) and the age of the sample group (16-25). which resulted in limited and stifled data. their mental health needs and the way in which these are dealt with by the CJS. 2012). establishing a clear context for exploring young women’s mental health and the extent to which young women’s needs are met whilst in. whereas they felt more at ease and able to communicate feelings to a member of their peer group.1 The age of the peer-research team meant they were more readily able to build rapport with research participants who they identified with and felt at greater ease with in comparison to an adult researcher. it is a requirement of The Children Act 2004 for police authorities and chief ofﬁcers to support arrangements to improve children’s wellbeing with regards to their physical and mental health and protection from harm and neglect (National Policing Improvement Agency. police custody. The research strategy we adopted for the fieldwork phase of the project involved a strong emphasis on a peer-led approach.
rather than accepting their position as passive subjects of guidelines made by adult ‘others’. the peer researchers discussed with participants the content of the interview and explained that the interview could be terminated at any point at the will of the participant.Introduction. The peer researchers who helped to lead this project underwent intensive training with IARS staff in research methods. It is an example of a youth-led approach to research which focuses not on exploring young people and their issues but providing spaces for young people to talk about themselves and the issues affecting them. and young people in particular. Before conducting interviews with research participants. 2002). In addition. placing the voices of young people at the centre of the investigation – both in its planning and delivery. which tested their interview technique and ethical awareness. In addition to the training the peer researchers were given. The child rights framework provides a further dimension to demonstrating the importance of a youth-led approach. prior to the interviews being carried out. to generate solutions to speciﬁc problems that they face. The peer researchers all signed conﬁdentiality agreements to protect the identity and information given by the research participants and all hard and soft copies of interview data and materials were kept in a secure location at the IARS ofﬁces. Ethical approval was obtained for the research both from the National Offender Management Service and from IARS Academic Board. The youth-led approach repositions young people as important stakeholders who. Problem Statement & Research Methodology This methodology embodies IARS’ key approach to enabling communities. are able to engage effectively in projects and processes which have outcomes which impact on their quality of life (Youth in Focus. key workers of the research participants were also available at the time of the interview to ensure the emotional wellbeing of participants and provide reassurance and support if needed. The participants were also told that the peer researchers could not discuss with them any matter which was currently subject to a criminal justice process or had not been reported. They also gave their insight into the design of the interview questions based on their tacit experience of how a member of their peer group might respond to being asked certain questions. ethics and how to conduct interviews. In order to identify the research sample all YOTs in London boroughs were contacted with details about the research and provided with an information sheet 11 Mental health needs and the police response . Article 12 of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (1989) sets out the child’s right to express their views freely on all matters affecting them. One of the primary concerns was safeguarding the wellbeing of the research participants. the peer researchers underwent an assessed practice interview.
Probation Services Tower Hamlets. See table 1. All young women who participated in the research were offered a voucher as an incentive to take part. Interviews took place in familiar spaces to the young respondents and were arranged to take place before or after a scheduled meeting with a professional with whom they had regular contact. one from Hackney. A total of 24 interviews were carried out during the ﬁeldwork phase of this investigation. YOT workers were also invited to meet with IARS staff to discuss the research in greater detail. three from Hammersmith and Fulham.1 for the breakdown of the age and borough of residency of the research sample. Off Centre (Hackney). Interviews were carried out with 11 young women from Hillingdon. the way in which such questions are asked and any subsequent support provided.Introduction. Girls who agreed to participate in the research provided their contact details to IARS staff who liaised with the peer research team to arrange a time for interviews to take place. Participants also completed a pre interview questionnaire which provided a more detailed picture of the individuals’ state of mental health. Clean Break (Camden) and Vision Housing (Merton). Problem Statement & Research Methodology to pass onto the young women with whom they worked. The Minerva Project (Hammersmith and Fulham). one from Harringey and one from Merton. The Jagonari Women’s Education Resource Centre (Tower Hamlets). one from Islington. On two occasions where research participants were nervous about speaking to an unknown individual their key worker sat with them during the interview. A similar approach was adopted for contacting voluntary and community organisations in London working with young women with a history of offending. three from Camden. three from Tower Hamlets. The interview explored the extent to which the police assess the mental health needs of young women in police custody. 12 Listening to young women in police custody . The majority of interviews were undertaken only with the peer researcher and research participant present in the room to ensure conﬁdentiality. The research sample was accessed through the following services: Hillingdon Youth Offending Team. IARS staff discussed the research with key staff members at relevant organisations and spoke to the young women they worked with about the research. It was not felt that this impacted upon the honesty of respondents’ answers during the interview.
Problem Statement & Research Methodology Table 1: Breakdown of age and borough of residency of the research sample Respondent ID H01 TH01 TH02 TH03 HD01 HD02 HD03 HD04 HD05 HD06 HD07 HD08 HD09 HD10 HD11 KT01 KT02 KT03 KT04 KT05 HF01 HF02 HF03 Borough of Residence Hackney Tower Hamlets Tower Hamlets Tower Hamlets Hillingdon Hillingdon Hillingdon Hillingdon Hillingdon Hillingdon Hillingdon Hillingdon Hillingdon Hillingdon Hillingdon Islington (using services in Camden) Camden Harringey (using services in Camden) Camden (using services in Camden) Lambeth (using services in Camden) Hammersmith and Fulham Hammersmith and Fulham Hammersmith and Fulham Age 22 22 22 20 17 17 17 17 15 16 15 16 16 16 16 18 24 23 23 22 23 21 27 (ﬁrst reprimand/ caution at 18) 23 MO1 Merton 13 Mental health needs and the police response .Introduction.
There was signiﬁcant inconsistency between YOTs across London with some being very supportive of the research and keen to encourage the young women they worked with to participate whilst others were very resistant and some were reluctant even to engage in discussion about the research. Many YOTs in London did not want to allow the peer research team access to the young women they supported despite reassurances around conﬁdentiality. The difﬁculty we faced in accessing a sample of young women from YOTs had the consequence of limiting our overall sample size and delaying the research process. training of peer researchers and the absence of discussion of anything intrusive or too sensitive. Problem Statement & Research Methodology 1.4 Limitations and Challenges A major challenge to accessing the sample was respondents not turning up to interviews that they had agreed to attend. were not always able to make it their interview slot. A further ten interviews were scheduled to which respondents did not turn up. Note 1 The investigation included research participants over the age of 18 since IARS recognise the speciﬁc needs and challenges facing young people transitioning from childhood. This presented an additional challenge in managing the expectations of the peer research team who were all volunteers.Introduction. 14 Listening to young women in police custody . safeguarding issues around allowing young women who had offended to participate in research interviews presented a challenge. Further. This was largely a reﬂection of the chaotic lives led by many of the young women who. although were often keen to participate in the research.
Such checks include a review of the Police National Computer to ascertain whether there are any speciﬁc risks relating to the detainee in question (PACE. Mental health problems experienced by children and young people tend to be the direct result of current events going on in their lives (Mental Health Foundation. 2012). According to the Mental Health Foundation (2012) about one in ten children and young people in the UK are affected by mental health problems. Post-traumatic stress disorder is also common amongst young people who have been victims of physical or sexual abuse or who have witnessed violence or other traumatising events (Mental Health Foundation. the involvement and consultation of other professionals such as the arresting ofﬁcer or a health care professional may also be necessary (PACE.Understanding mental health issues amongst young women who offend Chapter 2: Understanding Mental Health Issues Amongst Young Women Who Offend 2. These professionals are responsible for exploring and responding to speciﬁc risks related to reducing opportunities for self-harm. educational psychologists and professionals working in Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS). can work productively and is able to make a contribution to his or her community”. Whilst it is primarily the responsibility of the custody ofﬁcer to undertake the risk assessment. 1984). Key forms of support for children and young people experiencing mental health problems in the UK tend to be counsellors. increasing monitoring and 15 Mental health needs and the police response . It is during such checks that the police are able to assess detainees’ mental health needs. 2. 1984).2 Risk assessment and police custody The Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 (PACE 1984) sets out the police’s responsibility for carrying out risk assessments for all individuals brought into police custody in order to assess the extent of risk that the individual poses to custody staff and to themselves. Self-harming is a mental health problem which is particularly prominent amongst young people. can cope with the normal stresses of life. 2012).1 Deﬁning mental health T he World Health Organisation (2010) deﬁnes mental health as “a state of well-being in which an individual realises his or her own abilities.
16 Listening to young women in police custody . it has been highlighted by the National Policing Improvement Agency (2012) that seizing the clothing of an individual believed to be at risk of suicide or self-harm may cause more harm rather than less distress. Recent provision to the Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act 2007 means that police could be held accountable for any deaths that might occur in police custody. Whilst in police custody. Should a decision be taken that a detainee requires clinical attention whilst in police custody. Constant observation or within close proximity (Level 3 or 4) may be a more appropriate control measure in these circumstances” (p. potentially as a result of an inadequate risk assessment being carried out (CPS. custody ofﬁcers may remove clothing from detainees if they consider that there is a risk of them causing harm to themselves. 2012). according to section 136 of the Mental Health Act 1983. therefore increasing their risk of selfharming. a recent report from the Independent Police Complaints Commission (2010) indicated only just under half of a sample of 247 detainees had been risk assessed. 1984). to be assessed as quickly as possible. There is signiﬁcant pressure on the police to ensure that the wellbeing of detainees in police custody is maintained. interfering with evidences or damaging property (PACE.118). The same investigation also exposed a lack of frequent checks on detainees with mental health needs and at risk of self-harm or suicide whilst in police custody (Independent Police Complaints Commission. 1984). PACE (1984) sets out the requirement for detainees with mental health disorders and those who are mentally vulnerable. With regards to mental health. 1984). However. 2010). Where such an assessment takes place at the police station. The National Policing Improvement Agency’s report (2012) states that “leaving a detainee in their own clothing may help to normalise their situation. a registered medical practitioner and social worker should be called to the station to examine and interview the detainee as soon as possible (PACE. it is the responsibility of the custody ofﬁcer to ensure that all relevant information regarding the detainees’ condition is made available to the health care professional (PACE. It is particularly noteworthy that despite assessment being a requirement for all detainees on arrival to police custody. 1984). All children and individuals with mental health needs must be provided with an appropriate adult on arrival to police custody.Understanding mental health issues amongst young women who offend observation levels and calling a health care professional where the detainee has mental and physical health needs (PACE.
the offences are of a lower level and are mainly targeted at family members. Figure 1: Age and Gender of Young People on Youth Offending Teams caseloads 2010 / 11 in England and Wales (Youth Justice Board. 2008a. Recent statistics highlighted that girls’ offending accounted for 22% of offences in England and Wales (Youth Justice Board. 2008). (2005a) suggested that the peak age for violent offending is 14 to 15 years for both genders. 2004).. Youth Justice Board 2011).Understanding mental health issues amongst young women who offend 2. but that the occurrence of violent offending is much higher amongst young males. friends and peers (Franke et al. Flood-Page et al. such as girls reaching puberty at an earlier age. 2000). Research carried out by Budd et al. 2012 ) Girls’ offending is not only less frequent but they are also less likely to commit serious offences such as robberies and offences of a violent nature (McIvor. 2000. 2002. The peak age for youth offending is 15 years for females and 18 years for males (Campbell et al. with all the disruption that this may bring to a teenager’s life. offers some explanation for the difference in peak ages for offending (Smith and McAra. NACRO. Williams. 2011). 1998). These statistics also suggest that girls “grow out of crime” since their involvement in offending tends to tail off earlier than it does for boys (Graham and Bowling. The same statistics 17 Mental health needs and the police response .3 General characteristics of girls’ offending There are a number of distinguishing features of young women who become involved in offending and disorderly behaviour. 1995... When violent. The biological difference between genders.
Data from the Youth Justice Board (2011) indicates a 29% decrease in violent offending involving girls between 2006/07 to 2009/10 with over two thirds of recorded incidents by the police involving girls being non-violent (Youth Justice Board. In the past girls were more likely to have been dealt with more informally or based on a perception that their “troublesome behaviour was a symptom of being in moral danger” (NACRO. given community penalties or custodial sentences as frequently as boys. between 2001/01 and 2009/10 (Youth Justice Statistics 2010/11 England and Wales Youth Justice Board / Ministry of Justice Statistics bulletin ) A brieﬁng published by NACRO (2008c) has highlighted that girls are not prosecuted. With regards to young people’s treatment by the courts. 2008b: 7). The same is true of the most recent statistics relating to offending which indicates that there has been a reduction in offences committed by girls (see Figure 2) (Youth Justice Board. there has been a shift towards harsher and more formal punishment for both boys and girls (NACRO. 2011). 2011) supported the evidence that girls are predominantly involved in non-violent offending and that they are not as likely as boys to be reconvicted and stop offending at an earlier age (Youth Justice Board. Figure 2: Trends in arrests of young people for notiﬁable offences2 by gender. Whilst this may be a reﬂection of a leniency from police authorities and courts it may also be a reﬂection of the fact that girls are less likely to commit violent offences (NACRO. Traditionally this was viewed through a 18 Listening to young women in police custody .Understanding mental health issues amongst young women who offend (Youth Justice Board. 2008b). 2011). 2008c). 2012).
Whilst this did permit more lenient treatment of girls it also led to more “intrusive care based interventions” for girls whose behaviour did not necessarily warrant such a response (NACRO. Whilst this evidence relates to the experience of young women going through the court system it nonetheless highlights underlying attitudes towards young women who offend and who may only have contact with the CJS at police custody level. they still proportionately account for more pre-court disposals than boys (Youth Justice Board. leading to secure accommodation and children’s residential homes receiving far higher numbers of girls than boys. 2012). These experiences frequently have a serious impact on the wellbeing of girls 19 Mental health needs and the police response .993 in 2010 (APPG. 2008b: 7). also indicated that girls are sometimes held in custody simply because they are unable to access local authority accommodation (APPG. BrewerSmyth. with such behaviour being perceived as contrary to expected conduct of girls according to gender stereotypes (NACRO.360 in 2010 and the actual number of court convictions for girls . Whilst there has been a reduction in the number of proven offences committed by young women. 2012). which totalled at 48. This can have a signiﬁcant and negative impact on young women’s futures and reinforces the criminalisation of young women for minor misdemeanours (APPG.4 Factors for offending Recent studies have challenged the old view that boys and girls in the CJS share the same characteristics and have the same needs (Bloom et al.14. Research has highlighted that young female offenders are likely to have suffered numerous difﬁculties during their upbringing (Social Exclusion Unit. White. However. 2008b). Byrne and Trew. This is reﬂected by the large gap between the number of girls arrested. there has been a rise in the straightforward criminalisation of young people in recent years (NACRO. 2004. 2012).Understanding mental health issues amongst young women who offend “prism of paternalistic concern”. 2004). 2012).. 2012). 2005. The social care route therefore became a popular approach for dealing with such girls. 2009). 2008b). Evidence given to the All Party Parliamentary Group discussed above. Evidence collected by the Howard League for Penal Reform’s All Party Parliamentary Group on Women in the Penal System (2012) also highlighted that a large number of girls are arrested who aren’t charged. Precourt disposals can result in a criminal record for the individual in question with details of offences being recorded on the police national computer which can be disclosed to third parties requesting a criminal records bureau report (APPG. 2. 2005.
Smith and McVie. Tuvblad et al. This highlights a relationship between stressful circumstances in girls’ home lives and their offending behaviour. Statistics from the Youth Justice Board (2011) have indicated that 36% of girls caught up in the youth justice system had at some point been reported as a missing person compared to 17% of boys. Research has highlighted that violent offences involving young women tend to be targeted towards other girls and are often connected to arguments over boys. Harrington and Painter. poor parental supervision. 2003). Their investigation into youth transitions and crime followed a cohort of girls and boys who started secondary school in the same city in 1998 and aimed to identify the factors that led to offending.. Romantic relationships have also been identiﬁed as having a negative impact on offending behaviour amongst vulnerable girls (Hipwell and Loeber. 2001. Arnull et al’s (2005) research also revealed a far higher prevalence of traumatic life events as well as mental health problems and a history of abuse as being signiﬁcantly higher amongst girls than boys who offended. 2004. tension or vulnerability (Bachelor et al. The impact of peer groups on girls’ offending behaviour was also explored by McCarthy et al (2004) who reported that peer groups with offending behaviour have a negative impact on that of girls. Bachelor.. On the rarer occasions where young women are involved in violent or aggressive offences this tends to be a result of relationships with others that are based on anger. 2006.. 2006. victimisation. 2003. 2005). Cosaro and Eders (1990) added that girls’ sense of needing to impose their status and to be perceived as stronger than others could also motivate them to act violently. socio-economic factors. Arnull et al. 2006). having friends of the opposite sex and also low self-esteem were strongly associated with girls’ offending rather than with boys’ offending (Arnull et al. 2002. 2005). a protective factor was involvement with different peer groups. Smith et al.. Further factors relating to offending amongst girls have been identiﬁed through a number of research investigations (Hubbard and Pratt.. Barry. 2005. Such factors include poverty. 2006). disagreement. Smith and McAra. it was found that weak attachments to schools. desistance from it and to establish the differences between male and female offending. Phillips. 2001. angry exchanges of words or actions to protect a member of their peer group (Batchelor et al.Understanding mental health issues amongst young women who offend and may cause tensions with other members of their households as well as having the potential to lead to offending behaviour. conﬂict between parents and 20 Listening to young women in police custody .. 2004. When the factors that contributed to delinquency amongst girls were explored. history of abuse. A longitudinal study undertaken by Arnull et al (2005) aimed to investigate those factors which lead girls to offend.
2011). A history of abuse has been suggested to have a greater impact on girls rather than on boys (Hollin and Palmer. Research undertaken by the Youth Justice Board supports this evidence highlighting that young black women have a higher mean 21 Mental health needs and the police response . this population mainly reported use of alcohol (57%) with the use of illegal substances being reported less frequently. Accommodation featured as a causal factor too. 2009). the study indicated that 65% were bored and did not participate in any activities and 49% had peers involved in criminal behaviour (Arnull and Eagle. 2009). The issue of race is also a key factor with regards to offending. at least 52% of the girls who made up their research sample had contact with social services at some point of their lives. 7% cocaine and 4% heroin (Arnull and Eagle. a percentage greater than that for boys (Arnull and Eagle. 2006) with 35% of girls who offend having a history of abuse in comparison to 20% of boys (Youth Justice Board. As for substance abuse. 2009).Understanding mental health issues amongst young women who offend living in a high crime area (Social Exclusion Taskforce. 2007). 36% of girls had been abused and 24% had witnessed domestic violence (Arnull and Eagle. since 33% lived away from home. 2009). With regards to their lifestyle. The Youth Justice Board (2009) has indicated that young female offenders tend to be white. According to their ﬁndings. All these factors have been associated with girls who become caught up in offending or disorderly behaviour. 17% in unsuitable accommodation. young women from a range of BME backgrounds are represented in the youth justice system and evidence suggests that ethnicity has a signiﬁcant impact on young women’s experiences of the justice system and the types of offences young women may be involved in. with 88% of young women in the Youth Justice System in England and Wales deﬁning themselves as white. Evidence presented to the House of Commons Affairs Committee in 2007 on Young Black People and the Criminal Justice System suggested that young black women’s offending is “converging with that of their male peers” (p. 23) with increasing records of young black women being involved in violence against the person and inter-group conﬂicts. Research carried out by the Youth Justice Board has indicated that whilst young white women were most prominent in the youth justice system. at 29% for cannabis. However. young black females were often overrepresented in the case loads of Youth Offending Teams in proportion to the size of black communities in the local population (House of Commons Affairs Committee. 2009). 2009). 16% in chaotic homes and 31% in deprived houses or living with other offenders (22%) (Arnull and Eagle. Further. Arnull and Eagle (2009) have identiﬁed further factors which impact on offending amongst girls.
2007). It indicates that young women from mixed race backgrounds have the most frequent contact with youth offending teams. particularly the drugs trade often being used as decoys in cars as girlfriends and as daughters.Understanding mental health issues amongst young women who offend offence score (which indicates the seriousness of offences committed on a scale of 1 . Figure 3 breaks down the frequency of young people’s contact with YOTs by gender and ethnicity. The over representation of young black women in the CJS in certain geographic areas is complex and multifaceted. evidence from Kids Company suggested young black women are increasingly being brought into street level crime. Figure 3: Frequency of young people’s contact with youth offending teams: broken down by gender and ethnicity (Youth Justice Board. Further. without being caught (House of Commons Affairs Committee.8) than their white counterparts (Youth Justice Board. 2010 ) 22 Listening to young women in police custody . 2010). It is of the utmost importance that young female offenders are not perceived as a generic group and that the speciﬁc needs of young women of different ethnic and racial backgrounds are taken into consideration during the design and delivery of services to support young women in police custody and in the CJS in general. coming from a family with a low economic income or where levels of unemployment are high all affect offending behaviour (Youth Justice Board. 2010). Youth Justice Board (2010) research also indicates that mixed race females receive a lower proportion of pre-court disposals than young white women. Factors including living in poor neighbourhoods.
5 Mental health needs A number of important investigations into the mental health needs of young women at various stages of the CJS have been undertaken in recent years. Research undertaken by Harrington et al (2005) further supports these ﬁndings relating to the more signiﬁcant mental health needs of girls in the CJS in comparison to boys. Harrington et al’s (2005) research found that the most common problems amongst girls in the CJS were depression (35% in girls to 13% in boys). The above statistics reﬂect the breadth of mental health issues affecting women in custody. 2008b. recent statistics also suggest that girls in custody are more likely than boys to be restrained and to ﬁnd themselves in segregation units (Youth Justice Board. 2006. There is little data available regarding the mental health needs of young women whose only contact with the CJS is at police custody level. Such data offers an insight into the complex emotional and mental health needs of young women who offend and who are present throughout the CJS. overdosing and selfharming behaviours (Douglas and Plugge. 2003). However. Recent statistics have indicated that emotional and mental health difﬁculties are more prevalent amongst girls than amongst boys who offend. In 2009 The Youth Justice Board explored the issue of mental health problems amongst girls who are involved in offending behaviour. 23 Mental health needs and the police response . such as depression. These studies highlight the extent of both diagnosed and undiagnosed mental health complaints experienced by girls who have offended. 7% boys) and post-traumatic stress disorder (19% in girls and 6% in boys). Although. mental health issues are also recognised as a contributing factor in boys’ offending.Understanding mental health issues amongst young women who offend 2. Further to this. research has been undertaken that highlights the mental health problems affecting young women who are in contact with YOTs in England and Wales as well as those in the secure estate. 2012). followed by self-harming (17% girls. 53% had sought psychological support and 21% had been hospitalised in psychiatric wards (Acola. Only 8% of the sample had been diagnosed with a mental health illness and 28% had at some point been in contact with a mental health service (Arnull and Eagle. Of their research sample 34% of the girls had displayed self-harming behaviours and 15% had attempted suicide. An American research study undertaken by Acola (1999) found that of 1000 girls in secure estates 92% were victims of physical or sexual violence. 81% were facing serious health problems. 2008). Williams. 1999). NACRO. 2009). this is a more signiﬁcant issue amongst girls (Veysey. Research has highlighted that 71% of girls in youth offending institutions in the UK suffer from mental health issues.
This group of young women were also far more likely to have witnessed incidents of violence in the family home. A study undertaken by Brewer-Smyth in 2004 into young women who offend found that at the time of their offence 80% of her research sample had been under the inﬂuence of alcohol or street drugs (Youth Justice Board. 2009). 24 Listening to young women in police custody . The same research also indicates that young women who offend and who are recent alcohol users are signiﬁcantly more likely to have deliberately harmed themselves or attempted suicide (Youth Justice Board. Further. 2009). Statistics have further indicated that after drinking young women who binge drink are more likely to engage in criminal or anti-social behaviour. impulsivity and difﬁculty to adjust or conform with society and rules (Eklund and Klinteberg. research undertaken by the Home Ofﬁce in 2003 highlighted a statistical relationship between criminal and disorderly behaviour and binge drinking amongst 18 – 24 year olds (Youth Justice Board. There are therefore signiﬁcant links both between alcohol use and offending amongst young women as well as factors including the risk of self-harming and suicidal behaviour reﬂecting signiﬁcant emotional and mental health needs. It is also more prevalent amongst girls who display aggressive behaviour. Further. Research into alcohol misuse amongst young people who offend has indicated a link between excessive drinking and personality conditions such as anxiety.6 Substance abuse The issue of alcohol abuse amongst young women who offend has been touched upon earlier in this chapter. 2009: 33). 2009). Evidence from Women’s Aid (2011) indicates that in 2005 nearly a quarter of female offenders had problems with alcohol abuse. Those young women using alcohol said that they were doing so to “feel better and forget about pain from past traumatic events” (Youth Justice Board. Research carried out by the Youth Justice Board (2009) has highlighted that recent alcohol use amongst girls does not tend to be linked with factors such as social deprivation. 2006). 2005. Alcohol use amongst girls is often associated with a signiﬁcant number of previous convictions and high levels of boredom. who are impulsive and who are have been involved in offences related to destruction of property (Youth Justice Board. alcohol use is often used as a coping mechanism for women who have experienced abuse or violence. 2009).. hopelessness.Understanding mental health issues amongst young women who offend 2. particularly within a domestic setting (Women’s Aid 2011). with the exception of theft (Youth Justice Board 2009). special educational needs or inappropriate social and communication skills. Conrod et al.
Tobacco and alcohol are widely used by young women involved in offending at rates of 61% and 57% respectively. 2003). sexual and mental health needs – they have been suggested to have the greatest impact. Where such programmes focus on young women’s experiences of victimisation including physical or sexual abuse. healthy lifestyle. assertiveness. The National Policing Improvement Agency (2012) has stressed the importance of agreement between police forces and partner agencies with regards to exit and after care strategies for individuals who present themselves as being mentally vulnerable and with potential social care or mental health needs whilst in custody. only 4% of young women who offend have ever used heroin (Youth Justice Board. The same National Policing Improvement Agency (2012) report highlighted the importance of intervention in offending behaviour through appropriate referral mechanisms being put in place when individuals leave police custody. positive female role models. use of drugs and alcohol as well as their physical. support from Community Mental Health Teams and day centres and other drop in advice services (National Policing Improvement Agency. Cannabis has been reported to have been recently used by 29% of young women who offend with harder drugs such as heroin and cocaine being very rarely used by young women involved in offending behaviour. care and community based treatments which may be made available to individuals on leaving police custody include CAMHS.Understanding mental health issues amongst young women who offend Whilst the prevalence of alcohol use amongst young women who have offended has been well evidenced there is little data to suggest that drug use amongst young female offenders is a signiﬁcant problem (Youth Justice Board. This not only enables individuals who have not been supported prior to their time in police custody with the opportunity to obtain support from appropriate referrals but it 25 Mental health needs and the police response .7 Interventions Research has highlighted that the protective factors against offending include high self-esteem. Types of support. supportive relationships. including referral to appropriate services. education and access to services (Social Unit Taskforce. 2009). 2009). 2. 2012). Patton and Morgan (2002) identiﬁed programmes that provide a holistic approach to girls’ needs in a safe environment as also being highly effective. support them into employment and enable them to build therapeutic relationships with keyworkers are particularly important (Lanctot. It has been suggested that interventions that develop young women’s independence. For example. 2009).
2001).Understanding mental health issues amongst young women who offend may also “address(es) the possible offending stimuli for that individual and thus reduce(s) reoffending and future demand on the police” (National Policing Improvement Agency. to change their perceptions regarding the impact of their offence and to achieve peace of mind through feeling they have gone some way to help their victim. 2012: 149). T2A. out of the CJS (APPG. The Prison Reform Trust has drawn on evidence to argue that young women need to be provided with support at their ﬁrst point of contact with the police (WJT. for their fears to be alleviated and to establish a sense of closure after the event (Gavrielides. Restorative processes are also extremely valuable for victims of crimes committed by young people. 2012). 2001). She draws on the complex and often chaotic lives led by many girls who offend and points to the value of restorative justice practices in adopting a holistic approach which combines interventions at individual. 2012. opportunities for young women to participate in restorative justice processes in the UK have been offered inconsistently by the police (NEF. Artinopoulou (2012) has particularly stressed the importance of restorative processes for young women who offend. 2012). 2010). Further. Gavrielides (2011) has highlighted the value of using restorative processes with young people who have offended including enabling young offenders to express remorse. Research has suggested that a reduction in youth crime will come from “maximum diversion and minimum intervention” from the CJS (McAra and McVie. Early identiﬁcation of girls’ needs would mean tackling the underlying 26 Listening to young women in police custody . providing them with the opportunity to understand what happened to them. Restorative approaches at the police’s discretion have been suggested to be effective in keeping girls and young people in general. acknowledgement of the importance of relationships with others and the positive roles these can play in conﬂict resolution and their lives in general should also be emphasised (Worrall. 2010) especially where young women have mental health needs. family and community levels taking into consideration the context within which a crime has been committed (Artinopoulou. meaningful relationships and become active participants in social change. 2011). learning disabilities or are reliant on substance use (T2A. Alder and Hunter (1999) argue that girls should participate in the design and implementation of these programmes and through that process develop leadership skills. However. 2012). A restorative justice approach provides an alternative to the more rigid response of the police to dealing with crime and offenders. An important aspect of programmes designed for girls who have offended is a focus on the girls’ strengths and positive characteristics (Worrall. 2011).
27 Mental health needs and the police response . They also advocated for health services (mental health and substance abuse) to be made more readily available to young people in order to divert them from the CJS (T2A. such as restorative processes. the Prison Reform Trust recommended that having “leads for women within the police…would improve police understanding of what causes women to offend and produce better outcomes” (WJT. In the same report The Prison Reform Trust suggests that the police need to be familiar with the local services for women and to refer them to such services more readily. 2012). 2012). 2011). at young people’s ﬁrst point of contact with the police in order to achieve desistance from criminal activity (T2A. by the Transition to Adulthood Alliance (T2A) recommended providing appropriate services and intervention techniques. The report also suggests that police ofﬁcers need to be speciﬁcally trained to support the needs of arrested women (WJT. By improving the police’s ability to deal with young women at their ﬁrst point of contact with the CJS the women’s needs would be more readily recognised and dealt with.Understanding mental health issues amongst young women who offend causes for their offending at the earliest point possible (WJT. A more recent report. 2011). published in 2012. 2011). Since there is an absence of gender speciﬁc support in police stations.
Rates of self-harm and attempted suicide are higher amongst girls who offend than amongst boys. 2012). Girls are not prosecuted. 2008b. ● ● ● ● ● ● 28 Listening to young women in police custody . it has highlighted the importance of interventions for diverting vulnerable young women away from the CJS. Recent use of alcohol is a signiﬁcant risk factor for young women’s offending. 71% of girls in youth offending institutions in the UK suffer from mental health problems such as depression. There has been a rise in the criminalisation of young women who commit minor offences (Youth Justice Board. overdosing and self-harming behaviours (Douglas and Plugge. for reintegration into the community following time in police custody and for ensuring their safety and wellbeing whilst in police custody. 2008). they still proportionately account for more precourt disposals than boys. Williams. According to PACE (1984) custody ofﬁcers are obliged to carry out risk assessments on all detainees arriving to police custody. attempted suicide or witnessed violence within their home (Youth Justice Board. This is often associated with an attempt to escape past traumatic events and is prevalent amongst young women who have self-harmed. particularly with regards to the main factors associated with young women most likely to ﬁnd themselves caught up in the CJS. There is. 2008b) Whilst there has been a reduction in the number of notiﬁable offences committed by young women. little data to suggest that drug use amongst young female offenders is a problem. Further. given community penalties of custodial sentences as frequently as boys which tends to reﬂect the fact that they are less likely to commit violent offences (NACRO. 2006. however. 2009). Research undertaken by the Independent Police Complaints Commission (2010) has highlighted that there is inconsistency regarding not all detainees being risk assessed. It has drawn attention to ways in which mental health difﬁculties manifest in young women who offend.8 Summary of the literature This chapter has brought to the fore some key issues relating to young women’s offending behaviour. The following key ﬁndings have emerged: ● Identifying the mental health needs of young women at their ﬁrst point of contact with the police is crucial for ensuring effective diversion away from the CJS.Understanding mental health issues amongst young women who offend 2. NACRO.
low self-esteem. family and community issues relating to a young person’s offending behaviour (Artinopoulou. The speciﬁc needs of young women from BME backgrounds must be taken into consideration during the design and delivery of services to support young women in police custody and in the CJS in general. the ﬁndings from which follow in the next chapter of this report. experience of abuse and domestic violence have all been identiﬁed as factors associated with young women’s offending (Arnull et al. The above issues were explored in greater detail by the peer research team during the ﬁeldwork phase of the investigation.. 2009). 2012) Police need to have a greater knowledge of local services in order to sign post vulnerable young women in police custody towards appropriate support upon leaving police custody. Such opportunities help to develop leadership skills. taking into account the individual. Youth Justice Board. having friends of the opposite sex. Note 2 Notiﬁable offences are those offences which require the police to record an incident as a crime and report the occurrence to the Home Ofﬁce (Youth Justice Statistics 2010/11 England and Wales Youth Justice Board / Ministry of Justice Statistics bulletin) 29 Mental health needs and the police response . Young females who offend cannot be dealt with as a generic group. meaningful relationships and active participation (Alder and Hunter. socio-economic factors. 2005. A restorative justice approach is more holistic. It has been recommended that young women participate in the design and implementation of programmes that support other young women who have offended.Understanding mental health issues amongst young women who offend ● ● ● ● ● Weak attachments to schools. 1999) Greater emphasis should be placed on using restorative processes at the police custody level to support young women who offend.
Understanding mental health issues amongst young women who offend 30 Listening to young women in police custody .
Findings from the ﬁeldwork Chapter 3: Findings From The ﬁeldwork: Young Women’s Experiences Of The Identiﬁcation And Provision Of Support For Mental Health Needs In Police Custody T his chapter explores.1 An overview of the research participants All research participants were asked to complete a pre-interview questionnaire with the support of a peer researcher before taking part in a more in-depth interview. psychiatry and CAMHS. the key issues that arose from the ﬁeldwork regarding young women’s experiences of police custody and the way in which their mental health needs were dealt with. Peer researchers went through the questionnaires with respondents to ensure that they were able to understand all questions. The overview that follows draws on the information provided by research participants in their pre-interview questionnaires. thematically. The pre-interview questionnaire explored young women’s state of mental health during the period of two months leading up to their time in police custody and the actual time at which they were arrested. It begins by summarising the mental health and offending proﬁles of those young women who participated in the research.1. counselling. 3. In chronological order it then explores the obstacles that young women faced whilst in police custody to having their mental health needs met.1 Participants’ state of mental health With regards to the mental health needs of young women who made up the research sample. domestic abuse and alcohol and drug use. A small number of young women chose not to answer certain questions where they did not feel comfortable in doing so. The pre-interview questionnaire also examined young women’s experiences of violence. Their experiences of police custody varied from a few hours to over 24 hours. The services they said they had used included psychologist support. Fourteen participants said that they had been in touch with mental health services at some point in their lives. 31 Mental health needs and the police response . nine participants out of 24 said that they were suffering from mental health problems at the time of their most recent offence. 3.
seven had done something dangerous when on drugs and four were under the inﬂuence of drugs at the time of their offence. 13 had lost interest in the things they used to enjoy. threatened or physically hurt. 3. with the use being mainly occasional (ten answered that they were drinking on weekends only).3 Participants’ experiences of illegal substance and alcohol use When asked about their use of drugs two months prior to the offence. Finally. One person from the sample reported experiencing psychotic symptoms. 20 had witnessed someone being attacked. In terms of alcohol use. with the common drug of choice being cannabis. Of the 24 research participants.Findings from the ﬁeldwork The participants were asked about the presence of speciﬁc symptoms of depression at the time of the offence.1. 16 had concerns about the future indicating problems of anxiety and lack of security. Of the total research sample. Out of the 23 who provided an answer. four (out of the 16) said that they had tried to harm themselves two months before their offence and eight had tried to harm themselves at some point of their lives. they were asked about their emotional wellbeing two months before the offence. 12 (out of 24) experienced stress. 16 (out of 24) research participants said they had been drinking alcohol in the two months before the offence. threatened or physically hurt and nine said that they had been the victim of violence in their family. ten respondents said that they had used illegal substances. 15 said that they had been attacked. None of them had ever asked for professional help for any of the above problems. The responses were mainly indicative of depressive moods: 16 were experiencing feelings of anger/sadness/ grief about past events. 16 said that they had sleeping problems and 12 had changes in their appetite. 13 could not relax even after trying and 10 experienced panic attack symptoms or sleeping problems because of stress. 12 were having problems concentrating and/ or feeling sad or down. 12 had been in trouble at some point because of their alcohol use 32 Listening to young women in police custody . however they do highlight the emotional and mental health problems facing young women in the sample. Five said that they had been in trouble at some point because of their drug use. 3.1. Similarly. The responses do not necessarily suggest that the participants were suffering from depression before the offence took place.2 Participants’ experiences of abuse Experiences of violence and abuse were reported widely across the research sample.
with one research participant reporting having 37 previous convictions. Nonetheless. experiencing feelings of sadness and low self-esteem all correspond to those characteristics identiﬁed by research into young women at various stages of the CJS. In particular.Findings from the ﬁeldwork and 13 admitted that they had done something dangerous whilst under the inﬂuence of alcohol (for example risk taking.4 Participants’ history of offending Only four of the young women in the research sample had no previous convictions. 3. The amount of alcohol was not recorded and although the young women said it was only mainly on weekends. Five research participants had received prison sentences at some point. ﬁghting or having sex with someone they didn’t know or without contraception). eight said they had been drinking just before they had offended.2 Young women’s experience of being questioned about their health in police custody. peer researchers explored participants’ experiences of being asked about their health and mental health needs on arrival at police custody.1. interview questions focused on their experience of responding to the self-reporting questionnaire which is used at police stations to ascertain the state of mental health of individuals being brought into custody. Three research participants reported having at least 20 previous convictions. 3. The sample of girls who participated in the research was small and not necessarily representative of all young women in London who have experience of police custody. with three having been in prison on more than one occasion. when we take into consideration the young age of the sample (with the majority being under-age) any kind of use is concerning. this overview of ﬁndings from the pre-interview questionnaire does reﬂect some key characteristics of young female offenders that were identiﬁed in the previous chapter. Most young women in the sample had offended on more than one occasion. With regards to use of alcohol at the time of the offence. During interviews. Participants discussed whether any questions were asked of them about their mental health needs and 33 Mental health needs and the police response . Five young women had one previous conviction and ﬁve others had two previous convictions. In particular. the participants’ experiences of abuse and violence at home as well as self-harm and alcohol abuse. however some participants had been in contact with the CJS far more frequently than others.
This is particularly pertinent since 34 Listening to young women in police custody . mental or emotional health during their time in police custody. (HD11) The questionnaire . she had 20 previous convictions. they could have asked me a bit more about my emotional state. Whilst questions had been asked of this girl on entry to police custody they had not been sufﬁcient for establishing an understanding of her underlying mental health and emotional needs. One respondent spoke about her disappointment at her emotional and mental health needs only generating concern when she was taken to prison. mental or emotional health needs at any point during their period in police custody: They didn’t talk to me about how I was feeling… they don’t ask how you feel or nothing.Findings from the ﬁeldwork how any information they provided impacted on the services or support they subsequently received. Like other respondents. (KT02) They could’ve asked me more questions to see if I was alright. (KT01) Obviously my solicitor asked if I was alright… but other than that no one spoke to me at all. Nine of the young women who made up the sample commented that the police had not asked them about their physical. One respondent who recalled being asked about their health needs commented that they did not feel enough attention was focused on their emotional or mental health needs and that the space in which she was expected to answer questions lacked privacy. she felt that more questions could have been asked of her whilst in police custody which would have led to important information about her mental health being disclosed.they could have done it somewhere private. (TH03) The only time I’ve been asked how I felt is before I went to prison and I thought well it’s a bit too late to hear my cry and that’s a bit disappointing because it’s just like when everything fails that’s when we want to know. had been the victim and witness of domestic abuse and had reported having symptoms of depression since being a young child. (HD09) The experiences of these girls reﬂect an absence of police interaction with young women to explore their physical. Without such questioning young women appeared rarely to volunteer information about their emotional and mental health needs to the police.
In particular. these would not be identiﬁed by the police when taken into custody after their ﬁrst offence. Respondents spoke about their concern that whilst their personal issues and needs might develop or change over time. none of which she had ever sought professional help for. (KT01) Just cos I don’t say it. (HD11) Where young women had been taken into police custody on more than one occasion. they should still ask ‘cos I’m in their care. (KT02) When it’s your first offence they ask you if you’re alright and stuff but when you’re a repeat offender they just chuck you in the cell. but if you’re a repeat offender it’s all recorded down so they don’t bother asking the other times. In turn this could have translated to the respondent being provided with appropriate support on leaving custody which may have also guided her away from future offending. questions were rarely asked about their needs and they were not checked up on in the same way as a ﬁrst time offender might be. a number of them mentioned that they had not been asked the same questions as they had been at their ﬁrst arrest. Young women felt that when taken to the same police station more than once. respondents spoke about the absence of questions around their health needs when taken into police custody after their ﬁrst time: In the beginning when you get signed in they ask you do you have any mental health problems or if you’re taking any medication or whatever. The questions asked at entry to police custody would therefore represent a pivotal opportunity for the police to establish a clear understanding of this young woman’s needs. The lack of communication between police and young women emerged as a missed opportunity for identifying young women’s mental health needs.Findings from the ﬁeldwork the respondent in question reported having experienced and witnessed domestic violence as well as having a history of self-harm. And it’s not like I’m at home so I can do it myself. 3.3 The experiences of young women who have repeat offended The issue of repeat offenders being treated differently to ﬁrst time offenders was brought up by a number of the young women interviewed. 35 Mental health needs and the police response .
it just makes it worse. (KT02) Q: So you don’t think those questions are relevant? A: Yeah they are relevant.. (TH02) These respondents did not feel compelled to answer questions posed by the police honestly. young women commented that they would not necessarily be honest with a police ofﬁcer who asked about their health needs: The crazy thing about it all… what you tell them… I could turn around and say I don’t have mental health problems and I do. (KT01) I am still frightened of the police officers.If they treated people with a bit more respect then they’d get a bit more respect back. I was full of hate.Findings from the ﬁeldwork 3. (HD03) You’re not really going to tell the police if you do have a mental health problem because the police aren’t really going to solve the problem. (TH03) Young women talked about a deep distrust of the police and discussed general feelings of negativity towards police ofﬁcers including feelings of hatred and fear. (HF03) Because everyone hates the police and the way they treat people . others expressed a lack of interest in talking to the police about their mental health needs: Once I’m there I’m arrested then for the next 13 hours so there’s no point talking to them… I don’t want to talk to them. Young women spoke about their discomfort at being questioned about their mental health needs whilst in police custody. Further.4 Young women’s attitudes towards the police Whilst a signiﬁcant proportion of respondents did not recall being questioned about their health needs by the police whilst in police custody. Of course they are relevant but… anyone could lie about those questions. These entrenched attitudes towards the police meant that young women did not perceive them as people who they either felt comfortable talking to or who they felt could help solve problems that they might be facing at the time at which they were brought into custody.. frustration and anxiety. Some respondents 36 Listening to young women in police custody .
In particular. (HF01) Oh yeah. Some young women also felt that it was not the role of the police to identify their needs and provide them with signposting to appropriate services: I don’t know if the police should be doing anything more. (HD11) These young women who were able to obtain medical support whilst in police custody expressed satisfaction in their experiences. I think there should be an order for you to get help if you need help. to arrest you and then it gets taken to the CPS. I don’t think it’s for the police to give you help for that. straight away. This raises questions about how young women could be put at ease to enable them to feel comfortable and conﬁdent in sharing information about their mental health needs whilst in police custody. This was either through the provision of medication or being allowed to seek medical advice from a doctor: So they said yes they will get me a doctor. Because if the police decide. factors such as 37 Mental health needs and the police response . The police are there to do their bit in the criminal justice system. (KT03) I don’t think you should have a good experience at a police station. 3. oh you’ve come in and you suffer domestic violence or you hit your man or whatever. there was one time when I didn’t feel well so they gave me paracetemol and made sure that I was feeling better. So I think whatever the CPS decide when you go to court. that will give me my medication. They did not perceive the process of arrest or of being in a police station as something that should be experienced comfortably. (HD05) These women described how they perceived the role of the police as being entirely focused on the criminal aspects of an individual’s behaviour rather than having responsibilities for their individual needs or problems.Findings from the ﬁeldwork suggested that by giving easy answers – which weren’t necessarily honest ones – they could avoid entering into a personal conversation with a police ofﬁcer which they did not wish to have.5 Provision of health services in police custody Two respondents spoke about their experiences of having their physical health needs met whilst in police custody.
(HD10) My physical needs weren’t met because they took me to the hospital but they never tested me so what’s the point. 3. and I’m tired and all I want is sleep not drink or eat or nothing like that. (HF01) The respondent above described her frustration at not being able to obtain important medication for a thyroid problem she had whilst in police custody. 4 or 5 that I got there. this provision of support also suggests that their emotional and mental health needs were also taken into account. This again related to young women feeling that they had not been listened to and that as a result their needs had not been able to be met. not being satisﬁed with the outcome once they had been seen. Other respondents suggested that their lack of medication not only made them feel physically unwell but also led to substantial stress and anxiety during their time in police custody: I had to wait around for the doctor to come in a couple of hours or whatever it was. In contrast to the above experiences a number of respondents shared their experiences of struggling to obtain medication whilst in police custody: While the person was putting my name in and asking all these questions so I told him I need my medications if I don’t have my medications I have problems like I go all the time to sleep. in one case. (TH03) Respondents also shared experiences of long waiting times to see a medical professional and. Whilst these young women refer to their physical health needs being met. no. I had to wait for the doctor to come in at like 10-11.Findings from the ﬁeldwork the speed at which they were provided with medical support and consistency in checking that the young woman in question was feeling alright were regarded as important aspects of these experiences.1 Impact of being in police custody on young women’s state of mental health According to the sample. So then. Because it was at 5 o clock in the morning. where young women in police custody struggled to receive attention for their health needs (physical or mental) this tended to exacerbate underlying emotional problems: 38 Listening to young women in police custody .5.
(HF01 – had been receiving mental health support before offending and had a history of self-harming) It made me feel alone. now you have to wait… If you’re gonna do this trouble now you have to wait and I said this is medication. it’s complicated. And I was having like heavy breathing because I was scared because I have a panic like sometimes in my chest I have pains.Findings from the ﬁeldwork I was actually harming myself in there… it’s not right. like I didn’t have anyone there for me. I was telling some women I was harming myself and she didn’t come in for a good hour until she realized I was doing it and they had to put me on watch.had been receiving mental health support before offending and had a history of self-harming) Signiﬁcant mental health issues were raised by these young women including self-harm. you know. be patient. Like I'm not worth it to be in this world. I felt trapped really. Their needs do not appear to have been picked up on when they entered police custody impacting both on their emotional and mental wellbeing whilst in the police station and also their unidentiﬁed needs on leaving police custody. hearing voices and feelings of worthlessness whilst in police custody. I had to do something. this is not a joke. Where young 39 Mental health needs and the police response . (HF01) I would have liked them to help me by calling someone… I was in a little room. (KT01) And I was crying and I said I have a big depression and I need my medication. that made me feel bad as it is and I was hearing voices and things like that. They made me feel like I was nothing. These are issues that should have been picked up on through the use of the police’s selfreporting questionnaire for individuals entering police custody. (HD06) I don’t wanna really sound bad or like nothing but… they made me feel bad they made me feel not comfortable. but because I was in there for so long and it was stressing me out. and them not helping me made everything worse. I said if I have my medication I’ll be ok I’ll settle down and I’ll wait. (HD06 . and the police officer said now you have to wait. I know I did wrong so I’m not saying nothing about that but I need my medication. The absence of support provided to these young women suggests a lack of recognition or understanding of their emotional and psychological vulnerability. A number of these individuals had requested medical attention although many hadn’t received it.
available to young women when leaving police custody. that they could access once they had left police custody. I did get leaflets and stuff after. including mental health services. others could not: No. to do with alcohol use and depression. it’s the best way to do it by yourself. (HD08) Nah I just looked it all up on the internet (information about support services).5. they did not report actually being motivated to make contact with such services. Whilst the two above participants recalled being provided with an information leaﬂet during their time in police custody. (HD05) Those young women who had received information made reference to the length of the document but did not go on to state that they had used any of the information contained within it. Where participants had received service details. these tended to be in the form of a sheet of useful contact organisations and numbers: Oh yeah. including mental health services. Whilst receiving such information does not guarantee that a young woman will take up any such support it does at least give her the option to consider doing so. (HD11) They give you a big sheet of loads and loads of numbers.2 Receiving information about useful services upon leaving police custody Young women shared mixed experiences of receiving information whilst in police custody regarding relevant services. they just gave us the rules and regulations of being there but nothing about contacting anyone. A minority of young women 40 Listening to young women in police custody . Whilst young women being able to recall being given such a document in police custody does suggest that they are aware of extra support available to them. the stress of being in such an environment appears to exacerbate their already fragile state of mental health.Findings from the ﬁeldwork women’s mental health needs are not met whilst in police custody. no one wants to help anyway. (TH03) Respondents’ experiences suggest inconsistencies in the provision of information regarding valuable services. 3. just in case I did need it.
I don’t think they should ask questions like that…” (HD09) 41 Mental health needs and the police response . Police decided to remove her headscarf since they were concerned it could be used as an object with which she could cause herself harm. 3. The majority of young women who made up the sample described themselves as coming from a white ethnic background (n=11). two from a mixed race background and one from a middle eastern background. They were saying that “no we’re not going to give you your headscarf”… I felt like I was being targeted. Her experiences therefore highlight a tension between young women’s right to religious expression and the current police approach for safeguarding vulnerable individuals in custody. (HD06) This young woman who raised concerns regarding the removal of her headscarf for religious reasons also disclosed experiences of self-harm and general depression. with six describing themselves as coming from a black ethnic background. the respondent felt that this should not have interfered with her religious rights. Whilst it is of the utmost importance that the police consider the safety of young women with a history of self-harm whilst in custody. Whilst none of the respondents discussed any difﬁculties they’d experienced in police custody with regards to their mental health due to issues of race.Findings from the ﬁeldwork appeared to be conﬁdent in their own abilities to access the support they needed without any assistance from the police.6 Cultural sensitivities towards young women in police custody The young women who made up the research sample for this investigation came from a range of ethnic and religious backgrounds. Four respondents did not wish to give details of their ethnicity. two young women described difﬁculties they had encountered as a result of their religious beliefs: “I actually said to them that I was wearing it (headscarf) in a religious manner but they didn’t take that into consideration at all. Another young woman who was a practicing Muslim expressed her embarrassment around being asked personal health questions in front of a male member of family: “My brother in law was there and they asked if I was a virgin and if I was pregnant… (I felt) really uncomfortable.
When they ask you that question (about health needs) there are loads of officers around. They should ask if you’re feeling ok. The only women I see is when I get searched. Especially as a women as well. Most of the time the sergeants are males.Findings from the ﬁeldwork Whilst it is important for the police to understand the current state of health of young women coming into police custody certain sensitivities need to be demonstrated with regards to questions which young women may not wish to disclose in front of others. 3.7. that should be private. There is a need for greater consideration to be paid to the rights of young women from speciﬁc religious and cultural backgrounds whilst in police custody which may be incompatible with more broad brush policies and practices currently in place for the generic male offender. Everything contradicts itself basically. the people who arrest me are males.7 Young Women’s preferences for support whilst in police custody 3. most of the police officers are males. (KT02) I think there should be like a room where you can search girls. you’re not really going to say anything about abuse or violence. What’s the point in being searched by women if there’s men there watching. Not only does this impact on the honesty with which girls might respond to such questions but it may also put young women in a difﬁcult situation from a cultural or religious perspective.1 The role of female police ofﬁcers in supporting young women in police custody Interview respondents spoke about the importance of having female police ofﬁcers as key contacts with young women whilst in police custody. When you get searched they write it out in front of everyone. (KT01) 42 Listening to young women in police custody . Young women should be able to discuss personal issues conﬁdentially and in private. There should be more privacy. young women from certain cultural or religious backgrounds may ﬁnd it difﬁcult to provide honest answers to such questions in front of male family members. Not in a cell cos there’s cameras. male officers on either side. In particular.
Like they’ve got a doctor there… so maybe they need other people who can help with your specific needs. other participants commented that they would have felt more comfortable answering questions regarding their mental and emotional health to an independent third party. in private.2 Young women’s interest in talking to a third party about their needs whilst in police custody Further to being provided with a female ofﬁcer to deal with young women throughout their time in police custody. 24 hours just to have a quick talk. For example. (HF03) I think the police might not be able to deal with certain needs of young women but they should have someone there who could help.7.Findings from the ﬁeldwork If they are calling women officers to search me they should just get women officers to deal with me you know? (HD01) So maybe yeah it would be nice in a room and if you sat down with a female officer talking to you and asking if you was alright and if you spoke to her and she could find out a bit more about you and make your stay a bit more comfortable. (KT02) If it was someone who was independent then I would talk to them. this is what is going to happen to you. Again. The issue of young women having contact with female ofﬁcers is particularly important where young women have experienced problems such as abuse. 3. (TH03) Respondents spoke about experiences they had had whilst in police custody which they felt could have been handled more appropriately had the ofﬁcers involved been female. someone like you. it was suggested that an independent female party would put a young woman at ease and enable her to share any issues impacting upon her mental health at the time of her arrest: A volunteer. who don’t work for the police. away from male ofﬁcers. like a Samaritan or something. someone who is independent. respondents suggested that they would feel more comfortable disclosing sensitive information to female ofﬁcers. (KT05) 43 Mental health needs and the police response .
Findings from the ﬁeldwork This is particularly pertinent since two of these young women had reported experiencing mental health problems at the time of their offence and both had experience of being both a victim and a witness of domestic violence. Their comments reﬂect young women’s interest in taking up such support should it be made available to them whilst in police custody. Having an individual at hand who could provide support to such young women would have the potential to not only meet their immediate needs but to divert them away from future offending. 44 Listening to young women in police custody .
1 Addressing inconsistencies in the treatment of repeat offenders A key ﬁnding that emerged from the ﬁeldwork was the inconsistency with which young women who reoffended are treated whilst in police custody. It is crucial that this investigation represents the starting point for further research in order to generate the most effective solutions possible to improve outcomes for young women with mental health needs who ﬁnd themselves in police custody. This is a new area of research which has raised important questions for further investigation not only for IARS but for academia and policy makers in general. D 4. Whilst it may not be the responsibility of the police to respond to the mental health needs of young women. the research sample provided an in-depth and rich insight into the experiences of young women with mental health needs who are arrested and taken into police custody. police custody is an important point of the CJS for identifying and monitoring links between offending behaviour and long term mental 45 Mental health needs and the police response .Discussion & recommendations Chapter 4: Discussion & Recommendations espite its small size. The research placed the experiences and voices of young women within the current context of policy and practice with the goal of ﬁnding ways of reducing offending and reoffending and increasing the life chances of girls who ﬁnd themselves in custody. The youth-led approach at the centre of the methodology of this research was crucial for enabling us to explore the experiences of young women honestly and sensitively. There appears to be an underlying assumption that any key issues or needs would be picked up upon the ﬁrst time that a young woman entered police custody or that there would be no change in the young woman’s state of health between arrests. emotional and mental health. IARS would like to take the next step with this project and investigate the key issues identiﬁed in this research project from the police perspective. This chapter examines the key ﬁndings that emerged from the ﬁeldwork with young women and places them within the context of the relevant literature and policy frameworks before making recommendations. Three respondents commented that when they had been brought into custody on more than one occasion to the same police station they were not asked any questions regarding their state of physical.
However. mental health or otherwise between their visits to police custody. This needs to be addressed as a matter of procedure. No data is available regarding the relationship between mental health problems and repeat offending amongst young women. the wellbeing of young women in police custody may be at risk if their changing needs are not identiﬁed. Assumptions must not be made about these needs being identiﬁed the ﬁrst time that a young woman ﬁnds herself in police custody. the police are at risk of neglecting young women who are particularly vulnerable and who could pose a risk to themselves as well as missing the opportunity to refer young women to appropriate support providers who could guide them away from future offending. Assumptions should not be made about the needs of young women who reoffend nor their contact with other service providers. Further. that over half the young women in our research sample displayed signs of depression. That young women continue to return to police custody reﬂects a further missed opportunity for using information about their mental health needs and the underlying causes of such problems to divert them away from future offending. For example. The Independent Police Complaints Commission (2010) have also highlighted an inconsistency in risk assessments being carried out with detainees in police custody. A welfare approach that considers the full context in which young women offend may be a more effective route to changing behaviour than through repeat and ineffective interactions with the police. 46 Listening to young women in police custody . Without being provided with up-to-date details regarding the mental health needs of young women in custody.Discussion & recommendations health problems which could be effectively addressed outside of the CJS. even if they have been brought into the same police station on more than one occasion. There is the opportunity for underlying causes of young women’s reoffending to be understood through questioning by the police whilst in custody. Recommendations: ● All young women entering police custody should be asked questions regarding their emotional and mental health as a matter of procedure. that 9 had been victims of domestic violence and that only four had been in police custody on just one occasion suggests that young women who repeat offend do have enduring mental health needs. that 20 out of the sample of 24 had witnessed someone close to them being physically attacked. All young women being brought into police stations should expect to have the same opportunities to share information about their current state of mental health. a young woman whose state of mental health has degenerated with each visit to police custody and who may have developed selfharming behaviour should be provided with more intensive support rather than reduced support.
More established links between police stations and local providers of women’s services – particularly counselling and mental health services – would enable the police to sign post women on as soon as they make a disclosure about their mental health needs whilst in police custody. Such links would also enable the police to encourage young women to talk about their mental health needs with greater conﬁdence since they would be able to provide reassurances around positive action that could be taken if young women are experiencing emotional or mental health difﬁculties. Young women were asked questions around issues such as selfharm. This has been highlighted in research undertaken by Kapphahn et al (1999) who stressed the importance of ensuring opportunities for young women to disclose sensitive information in private spaces. The issue of the gender of the person that young women 47 Mental health needs and the police response . At times it also had the effect of making young women feel that they were being asked procedural questions which would affect their treatment whilst in police custody but not lead to further service provision once they left. Providing a private setting for young women to disclose information regarding their state of emotional and mental health would encourage them to provide more honest and open answers. most young women only saw the relationship between being asked questions about self-harm and suicidal feelings with having all dangerous items removed from their person. They did not see this as an opening for being provided with psychological support or counselling when leaving custody.Discussion & recommendations 4.2 Providing appropriate space and supervision for discussing mental health problems An issue which repeatedly emerged from the ﬁndings was the lack of privacy with which young women were provided when they were being asked about their state of mental health. Providing some explanation before questions are asked regarding their purpose might also encourage young women to feel at ease when sharing personal information. It was also suggested by a number of respondents that they would feel more comfortable disclosing information regarding their mental health to an independent and impartial individual rather than to a police ofﬁcer. suicide and drug use when checking into busy police stations in front of many people who they didn’t know. This had a signiﬁcant impact on young women’s ability to respond honestly to questions. A further issue that arose from the ﬁndings was young women’s preference for speaking to female ofﬁcers about their needs. For example. The environment in which young women are asked questions of such a sensitive nature has a major impact on the answers they give as well as affecting their understanding of why they are being asked such questions.
Further. Ensuring that young women would only be expected to disclose personal information to female individuals in police custody would go some way to ensuring they felt as comfortable as possible. these young women are unlikely to be referred on to services that could address their needs. Young women expressed preference for being able to talk to a trained female. young women’s negative attitudes towards the police also meant that they were not interested in talking to them about personal matters. ● Plain clothed. female third parties with a background in mental health care should undertake mental health assessments of young women in police custody. drug use and sexual health. Where possible. and the context within which these needs exist. independent. it is unlikely that they will provide honest answers to any personal questions posed to them whilst in police custody. In general. Without providing an appropriate environment in which young women feel comfortable talking about their current state of mental health.Discussion & recommendations could talk to about their needs was particularly important. independent from the police. Recommendations: ● Private spaces should be made available in police stations for disclosing sensitive information such as self-harm. As a consequence it is unlikely that intervention and re-integration services will be able to make the greatest impact possible since their potential beneﬁciaries will not be appropriately sign posted to them. regarding underlying mental health and emotional problems that they are facing. female police ofﬁcers should be available to talk to young women in police custody about their mental health needs. including how to identify mental health needs amongst young women they may come into contact with. Research undertaken by Rickwood et al (2005) has highlighted that young women often feel scared and shy about talking about their problems with strangers. 48 Listening to young women in police custody . ● All police ofﬁcers should receive training in working appropriately with young females in custody and of the mental health issues frequently associated with their offending behaviour. without understanding the mental health and emotional needs of young women. Sensitivities around the issues being asked of young women meant that they did not feel comfortable discussing them with male ofﬁcers. Young women should have the right to disclose such information privately and in conﬁdence. In the absence of such information providing appropriate support to young women whilst in police custody will remain a signiﬁcant challenge.
Discussion & recommendations 4. in particular. The distinct needs of different groups of young women need to be considered in order to achieve this objective. Whilst the safety and wellbeing of any individual in police custody is of paramount importance. need to be thoroughly understood and taken into consideration in order to ensure the fair and equal treatment of all young women in police custody. The National Policing Improvement Agency (2012) have already stated that seizing items from individuals with a fragile state of mental health could lead to more harm being caused than if they were left undisturbed. The discussion of sensitive issues such as sexual and reproductive health in the presence of male family members of young women from cultural or religious backgrounds which do not encourage sexual activity amongst unmarried women is also problematic. In fact. The forceful removal of a young Muslim woman’s headscarf cannot be perceived as the only solution to ensuring her safety. the humiliation and distress which may be endured as a result of such an action is likely to have a detrimental impact on the already fragile state of mental health of such individuals. Issues such as the removal of headscarves from young Muslim women at risk of self-harming or committing suicide needs to be considered carefully. The needs of young women from minority ethnic backgrounds.3 Considering the cultural and religious circumstances of young women in police custody The need for cultural and religious sensitivity when exploring mental health issues amongst young women in police custody emerged as a further ﬁnding from the research. Whilst it is important that young women under the age of 18 have an ‘appropriate adult’ with them during police questioning during their time in 49 Mental health needs and the police response . in a private setting. In particular. NOMS (2012) have already expressed their commitment to improving speciﬁc services for women throughout the CJS in the equalities objectives of their recent business plan. issues such as the removal of headscarves from young Muslim women and the discussion of sexual health issues in front of male family members surfaced as signiﬁcant areas in need of review. This also ties in with young women’s preference for speaking to a female about any personal health issues whilst in police custody. The importance of not viewing young women as a generic group was highlighted in the ﬁrst chapter of this report. Young women from different backgrounds will have different needs which need to be taken into consideration in the design and delivery of services for young women in police custody. ensuring that everyone is treated with dignity and respect is also tantamount.
Whilst it is important that the police have access to such information and also for girls to share any concerns regarding their sexual or reproductive health. We support the National Policing Improvement Agency’s suggestion that constant observation or within close proximity (Level 3 or 4) would be a more appropriate way of dealing with young women in police custody who wear a head covering for religious reasons should there be concerns around self-harm or suicide. One research participant also commented that she had waited for an hour before a custody ofﬁcer responded to her declaration that she was self-harming in her cell. others discussed either not receiving medication or medical attention when they had asked for it or having to wait long periods of time before they were attended to. particularly for those young women from certain cultural and religious backgrounds. Young women should be treated with dignity and respect at all times. It is crucial that young women’s mental health needs are not compromised by slow waiting times to receive essential medical support. Recommendations: ● Cultural and religious considerations must be taken into account when meeting the mental health needs of young women in police custody. 4.4 Identifying needs speedily Inconsistencies in the time young women were made to wait to receive care for their physical health needs also emerged as a key ﬁnding from this research investigation. Where young women were waiting to receive medical attention it appeared to negatively impact on their often already delicate state of mental health. 50 Listening to young women in police custody . it is crucial that this is not compromised by the environment in which such questions are asked.Discussion & recommendations custody. this includes respect for their religious freedoms. Whilst some research participants reported receiving the medication they requested. This raises questions not only about the speed with which medication and medical support are delivered to young women in police custody but also the regularity with which they are checked up on by custody ofﬁcers. young women may not feel comfortable answering questions of a more personal nature in front of certain individuals. Consideration is therefore required with regards to distinguishing between questions about the offence and criminal proceedings and personal questions relating to that young woman’s sexual health or health in general.
where there are concerns. this should be increased to every 15 – 30 minutes and if they are concerned about self-harm or mental health vulnerabilities the detainee should be placed on constant supervision (Independent Police Complaints Commission. In an investigation undertaken by the Police Complaints Commission (2010) it was highlighted that several detainees in their study were not receiving checks as regularly as they should have been. 2010). 51 Mental health needs and the police response . Without checking on young women who have reported mental health vulnerabilities such as experience of self-harm there are risks of young women seriously injuring themselves.5 Addressing inconsistencies in information provided to young women about mental health services Whilst some young women reported being provided with information sheets containing details of services for them to access on leaving police custody. if not worse. including young women with mental health needs. who are taken into police custody. including those who were vulnerable due to their state of mental health. are not left unattended for long periods of time. This raises questions regarding the effectiveness of written information as a means of providing support to vulnerable young women leaving police custody. none said that they have been motivated to make contact with those services. independent female third parties who are trained in mental health care should undertake mental health assessments with young women on entry to police custody. ● Medication and medical support should be delivered to young women within their ﬁrst hour in police custody and if this is not possible an explanation should be given as to why. However. including mental health services. 4. Recommendations: ● Where possible.Discussion & recommendations The Independent Police Complaints Commission (2010) have stated that where there are no concerns about a detainee following a risk assessment they should be checked on every hour. ● Young women should who have a history of self-harm should be placed under constant supervision by ofﬁcers who are trained in dealing with young women with mental health needs. It is of pivotal importance that vulnerable individuals.
for example young women who reported a history of self-harm had all possessions removed from them and were regularly checked up upon by police ofﬁcers. The police need to play a more active role in ensuring that young women go on to receive the support that they need which could divert them away from future offending. police ofﬁcers should contact local mental health services in order to arrange support for the detainee after their release from police custody. More engagement from custody ofﬁcers and other service providers may put young women in greater stead for accessing appropriate services after leaving police custody. However. Whilst the answers they gave did impact on their treatment whilst in police custody. these tended to be questions relating to self-harming behaviour and drug or alcohol use. Identifying the mental health needs of young women whilst in police custody is a 52 Listening to young women in police custody .6 Following up on disclosures around young women’s state of mental health Where young women who were included in the research sample were able to recall being asked some questions regarding their mental health whilst in police custody.Discussion & recommendations Levels of literacy amongst young offenders are particularly low. No assumptions should be made about young women following up on written information they are provided with whilst in police custody. Throughout this report the importance of establishing diversion strategies and interventions to direct young women away from the CJS has been alluded to. It is therefore of even greater importance that written materials alone are not depended on for ensuring that young women with mental health needs obtain the support and services that they need. Recommendations: ● Once young women’s mental health needs have been identiﬁed in police custody. The National Literacy Trust (2008) recently reported that 25% of young offenders have the reading skills below those of an average seven-year old. there appeared to be a lost opportunity to address long term mental health issues once young women left custody. 4. none of the young women made any reference to receiving any additional support or services after leaving police custody as a result of any information provided in response to these questions. Whilst leaﬂets provide useful reference material for detainees leaving police custody greater attention needs to be paid to the needs and general characteristics of those individuals to whom they are directed.
2008). If vulnerable young women do not go on to take up support from mental health services their state of mental health is at risk of worsening with the potential of leading to further offending behaviour and a return to police custody. 2008b. Numerous research investigations into the relationship between mental health problems amongst young women and offending behaviour have highlighted a clear and strong link (Acola.Discussion & recommendations key step towards understanding young women’s offending behaviour and directing them towards health and welfare services which could support their diversion away from offending. The difﬁculty in obtaining support for young women’s welfare and mental health needs from local authorities has been reported by many YOTs in the UK (APPG. Recommendations: ● All police stations should have established links with key contacts at local mental health centres and women’s centres to ensure effective sign posting for young women in need of professional emotional and mental health support. Williams. If police custody focuses only on dealing with the offences committed by young women and not the young woman behind the crime it is likely that reoffending will occur and that the needs of that individual will remain unmet. It is not therefore unlikely that the police become the key service provider that young women with mental health needs come into contact with. 2006. 2012). 1999. if the needs of young women are identiﬁed only for the purposes of their safeguarding whilst in police custody a valuable opportunity is missed in diverting young women away from offending behaviour. However. NACRO. including their mental health needs. ● Young women with experience of police custody and mental health needs should be involved in the design of intervention services for other young women with mental health needs who offend. A welfare approach that considers the underlying causes of young women’s offending would be particularly appropriate and could divert young women away from future arrests and the CJS in general. This point was also raised by the National Policing Improvement Agency (2012) regarding the importance of effective referral mechanisms for addressing underlying issues relating to that individual’s offending. Tackling young women’s mental health problems as soon as they are identiﬁed therefore represents an important starting point for effective interventions in diverting young women away from further involvement in the CJS. Douglas and Plugge. 53 Mental health needs and the police response . The All Party Parliamentary Group on Women in the Penal System (2012) have also drawn attention to the welfare needs of high risk young female offenders.
Discussion & recommendations 54 Listening to young women in police custody .
Sensitivities around discussing certain issues and respect for religious dress need to be taken into consideration within the context of current practice in police custody. And whilst there is evidence that the police are using information regarding young women’s mental health to safeguard their wellbeing whilst in police custody. Establishing an environment where young women from all cultural and religious backgrounds are treated with dignity and 55 Mental health needs and the police response . There is a need for improved links to be formed between police stations and local services and intervention schemes that support young women with mental health needs. Every young woman should be entitled to discuss any underlying mental health issues in private. The cultural and religious backgrounds of young women in police custody must not be overlooked either. the research has identiﬁed missed opportunities for directing them onto important services to meet their mental health needs and divert them away from offending. Enabling young women to take up services from local CAMHS. counselling services and women’s centres would mean that their mental health needs could be met and their risk of future involvement in offending behaviour diminished. Existing policies and procedures for exploring the mental health needs of young women as they arrive to police custody are not providing all young women with sufﬁcient conﬁdence for sharing personal information regarding their mental health. Such conversations present a valuable opportunity to understand a young woman’s offending behaviour and to ensure that any underlying welfare needs are being met.Concluding Thoughts Chapter 5: Concluding Thoughts T he ﬁndings of this book have highlighted improvements which could be made at police custody both to ensure that the mental health needs of young women are not missed and that appropriate support is provided during and post any time spent in police custody. with a female ofﬁcer. on any occasion that they are brought into police custody. Greater consistency regarding the treatment of young women who have been brought into police custody on more than one occasion should also be a major priority for improving outcomes for young women in police custody with mental health needs. The inextricable link between young women’s offending behaviour and their state of mental health – and the circumstances linked to such mental health needs – have been drawn upon in previous research studies and further demonstrated in the ﬁndings of this piece of original research.
are brought into the process of policy and service development to which they are at the receiving end. an exploration of the police perspective on the issues raised would be a crucial next step in taking the ﬁndings from this research forward. Youth-led research plays an important role in generating a clear picture of the experiences of young women with mental health needs who offend and establishing realistic recommendations regarding how those needs could best be addressed. The voices of the young women at the centre of this research investigation capture their own experiences of police custody and perceptions of how their needs could be better met. In particular.Concluding Thoughts feel able to discuss pertinent mental health needs is crucial from an equalities perspective. however it did enable us to identify key research questions for further investigation. The size of the research sample was a limitation to the project. This book has gone some way in demonstrating the important contributions that service users can make to policy development by enabling them to be part of the design and delivery of research studies and by placing their voices at the centre of such investigations. It is crucial that we continue to listen to vulnerable young women. whose voices are easily stiﬂed at the policy making table. This research represents a small in-depth study into the experiences of young women with mental health needs in police custody. to develop leadership skills. Not only does this ensure the greatest impact possible of such policies and services but it also enables young women. As Alder and Hunter (1999) have stated it is crucial that young people. 56 Listening to young women in police custody . service providers and the community at large. meaningful relationships and become active participants in social change. The experiences and views of all service users deserve to be taken seriously and only by doing so can effective changes to existing structures be made to the beneﬁt of service users. with a range of mental health and emotional needs. The user-led model at the centre of this research investigation is therefore particularly relevant. including young women who have offended.
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sharing best practice and by supporting young people to shape decision making.org. human rights and inclusion. To become a member: Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. focused and current By acting as a network that brings people and ideas together. IARS membership is open to anyone who believes in the charity’s mission.uk Tel: +44(0) 20 7820 0945 www. and participate equally and democratically in civic life.uk 63 Mental health needs and the police response . regional. fairer and more inclusive society. advocacy organisation we have a mission to transform young people’s lives by enabling them to have a better future. IARS is an international expert in restorative justice. national or international level. As an independent. IARS young people learn to inform policies and practices affecting them whether at a local. and we are considered a pioneer in user-involvement and the application of user-led research methods. IARS is known for its robust. IARS achieves its charitable aims by producing evidence-based solutions to current social problems. Membership beneﬁts package: ● 25% discount to our Annual Conference ● 1 hard copy per annum of Youth Voice Journal ● Free membership to the Restorative Justice Research Network ● 25% discount to all our hard copy books and publications including Youth Voice Journal ● 1 hard copy of our annual impact report ● 25% discount of advertising space on our hard and soft copy publications. independent.Appendices Appendix A: About IARS I ● ● ● ● ARS is a leading. credible. citizenship and user-led research. IARS delivers its charitable mission: By carrying out action research that is independent. independent and evidence-based voice on current social policy matters. international think-tank with a charitable mission to give everyone a chance to forge a safer. communicates best practice and encourages debates on current social policy matters By supporting the individual (with an emphasis on young people) to carry out their own initiatives to shape decision-making By being an authoritative. evidence-based approach to solving current social problems.
For more information you can visit the website www. cutting the number of custodial remands and prison sentences for vulnerable offenders by diversion towards more effective community management of their mental health and social care needs. We provide mental health awareness training and case consultation to people working within the criminal justice system to equip them to deal better with issues relating to mental health. the Forensic Mental Health Practitioner (FMHP) Service provides a pro-active. We aim to reduce re-offending rates by ensuring people get the support they need after being released from prison or while serving a community sentence. Together has been working in partnership with the London Probation trust since 1993 and the service was cited in Lord Bradley's report (2009) as an example of good practice. independent service that identiﬁes people in contact with the criminal justice system who have mental health needs: ● We work closely with court and probation services across London.org ● ● ● 64 Listening to young women in police custody . Part of the organisation.together-uk.Appendices Appendix B: About Together: for mental wellbeing Together: for mental wellbeing is a national charity working alongside people with mental health issues on their journey towards independent and fulﬁlling lives.
She met with IARS staff on a regular basis and used her expertise in the mental health and criminal justice ﬁelds to support the peer research team to design the research and to establish the research sample. She also contributed to establishing the research sample and supported the peer researchers to undertake interviews during the ﬁeldwork phase. Matina was one of the authors of this publication Rachel Cass is the Research and Policy Coordinator at IARS. Rachel supported the design and delivery of training sessions with the peer research team. the Director of Programmes at IARS oversaw the entire research process for this project.Appendices Appendix C: About the authors and delivery staff Matina Marougka has been working in the mental health ﬁeld since 2006 and currently works as a Forensic Mental Health Practitioner for Together: for mental wellbeing. Matina acted as the Research Associate on this project. she is responsible for the co-ordination and delivery of IARS’ research and policy programme. 65 Mental health needs and the police response . Lewis Parle. He provided support to IARS staff and Research Associates to ensure that the research was carried out robustly and within the ethical framework set out at the beginning of the project. Holly Challenger is IARS Projects Coordinator. Theo was instrumental in securing the funding that made this research possible. helped to establish the research sample and supported peer researchers to undertake interviews during the ﬁeldwork phase of the project. Theo also acted as the editor for this publication. Holly played the leading role in recruiting the peer research team and providing them with support throughout the course of the project. Theo Gavrielides is IARS Founder and Director. He provided his expertise in the criminal justice ﬁeld and community-led research to the staff and peer research team throughout the course of the project. He also acted as an editor for this publication. Rachel is also an author of this publication. running sessions twice a month for them to attend.
Appendices 66 Listening to young women in police custody .
it’s complicated.. and after leaving police custody. international think-tank with a charitable mission to give everyone a chance to forge a safer. London. The research identiﬁes the need for greater consistency in catering for this group’s needs as well as developing specialist services for Black and minority ethnic women with mental health challenges whilst in police custody. it’s not right. fairer and more inclusive society. The research was funded by the Mayor’s Ofﬁce for Policing and Crime through the Cross Borders Innovation Fund and was carried out as part of the IARS Big Lottery funded Young People’s 2 programme. It also puts forward recommendations for insight into young women’s mental health to translate to effective interventions that divert them away from re-offending. The research that informed this book was carried out by young. “I was actually harming myself in there. Findings highlight the extent of mental health problems amongst young female offenders. police custody. and the lack of opportunity to gain support for their speciﬁc needs whilst in. Nottingham Trent University This book is based on original research and explores the extent to which the mental health needs of young women are identiﬁed and met whilst in. 18 years) IARS is a leading.” Dr Loretta Trickett. Chief Crown Prosecutor for London “A timely reminder of the salience of gender to criminal justice policy in meeting the mental health needs of young women whilst in police custody. .“This book brings forth the issues of gender and mental health as key considerations for achieving a more eﬀective criminal justice system that supports individuals in moving away from their oﬀending behaviour rather than ﬁnding more opportunities to give harsher penalties and sentences.. England was the location of the research but the ﬁndings and recommendations are relevant to researchers. I had to do something” (Research Participant. and after leaving. but because I was there for so long and it was stressing me out. female peer researchers who undertook interviews with young women with experience of police custody. practitioners and policy makers worldwide.” Alison Saunders.
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