'It's our anxiety that keeps them locked up.' Protection for whom? Responding to the needs of 'at risk' young women in Scotland.

Lead Research Organisation: University of Stirling
Department Name: Applied Social Science


In recent years the number of young women in contact with the criminal justice system has been an international subject of concern, with a focus on the apparent rise in their offending. Despite increased academic, political and media attention, there are still few initiatives specifically designed for young women in Scotland and the wider UK, with limited understanding of effective practice. There is also very little research that focuses on practitioner experiences of working with this population, meaning that their insights, influence and support needs are often overlooked. The PhD research involved in-depth, semi-structured interviews that were conducted over the course of a year with 50 practitioners who work with young women in a range of criminal-justice related settings in Scotland, including prison, secure care, social work and community based projects. Shaped by feminist concerns, a key concern of the PhD study was to contribute to the growing body of knowledge and understanding about this population of young women, and thus to influence the development of good practice.
The key findings of the PhD fit into four areas:
(i) they add to the limited body of UK-specific knowledge regarding young women's pathways into cjs contact, illustrating how these are usually given at the (micro) level of the individual and family unit with other influences minimised.
(ii) they contribute to feminist concerns regarding the changing modes of social control to which young women are subjected, illustrating how descriptions of young women as highly vulnerable serves as one such mode of social control.
(iii) they detail aspects of working practice that practitioners viewed as key to their work, giving context to understanding why so many describe this a 'difficult' group with whom to work.
(iv) they contribute by exploring the the personal experiences of practitioners in conducting their work, and the working environment and conditions surrounding these.
The PhD research has significance both for academic and nonacademic audiences, as it has implications for policy and practice as well as adding rigorous academic research findings to the existing knowledge base. The Fellowship will enable these contributions, and has a number of distinct but complimentary aims. These are aimed at supporting my career aspirations for a future role that has strong links between academia and practice in terms of knowledge exchange, learning and impact. One of the key aims is to write and publish academic articles for peer reviewed journals based upon the key findings of my PhD as described. In addition to this, further research will be conducted in order to observe the working lives of practitioners through the collection of ethnographic, observational case studies within the different research settings: these will serve to illustrate the complicated, challenging nature of everyday practice. Engaging with non-academic audiences is a very important part of the fellowship, in order to collaboratively share, discuss and develop research findings. Building new, and upon existing academic networks will also be key to developing impact opportunities and informing further research and development. These networks includes local and national contacts, as well as offering an international comparison and perspective through collaborating with colleagues (for example in Europe and North America). Whilst the focus of the fellowship is the development of research and research networks and skills, a limited amount of teaching and supervising will also take place. Delivering adhoc lectures in relevant areas such as gender and crime, or research methods will enable academic engagement and exchange with students as well as providing valuable experience for my career progression. Finally, undertaking various training opportunities will both enable the different objectives of the fellowship to be realized, contributing to my research and professional skills.
Description Women working to support women in the welfare sphere: psychosocial challenges
Amount £214,282 (GBP)
Funding ID WEL /FR-000023227 
Organisation Nuffield Foundation 
Sector Charity/Non Profit
Country United Kingdom
Start 09/2021 
End 06/2023
Description Blog post - SCCJR Website. 
Form Of Engagement Activity Engagement focused website, blog or social media channel
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Blog post published on SCCJR Website, entitled: Working Under Lockdown. Effects on those who deliver services to justice involved populations. Authors: Burman, M.; Robinson, R. and Crowley, A. Based upon work conducted as part of Wellcome Funded Research building upon PhD findings, and continuing to be central to a research collaboration with the other authors. This blog post was aimed at raising awareness to practitioners, policy makers and the public about the impact of Covid-19 on those working with those who are justice involved.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
URL https://sccjrblog.wordpress.com/2020/06/23/working-under-lockdown/
Description Policy briefing paper. 
Form Of Engagement Activity A magazine, newsletter or online publication
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Briefing paper published on SCCJR website, providing insights into my research associated with this and my previous award. Following its publication, a mixture of academics, students and practitioners/third sector organisations reached out to me to express that they found it a very useful paper.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2021
URL https://www.sccjr.ac.uk/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/Dr-Annie-Crowley.pdf
Description The Scottish Centre for Crime and Justice Research (SCCJR), Scottish Institute for Policing Research (SIPR) and Scottish Government Inaugural Platform Event for Scottish Justice Fellows. 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact Inaugural platform event for Scottish Justice Fellow Recipients. The Scottish Justice Fellows scheme invited recent PhD graduates to work with academic and policy mentors to convert their findings into briefing papers and other multi-media formats. In the event the first five fellows summarised their research and chatted about the scheme with representations from the Scottish Government, SCCJR universities and the Scottish Institute for Policing Research. The event was open to the public, but with policymakers, practitioners and academics in particular invited. Following the 5 presentations, a discussion and q&a took place.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2021
URL https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/scottish-justice-fellows-platform-2021-tickets-207886844147