Continuums of criminalisation: care-experienced children and the criminal justice system

Emma Colvin

This paper presents findings from a recent study that examine the factors underlying the criminalisation of children in out-of-home care. Using a multi-method approach, specifically court observations, file reviews, and qualitative interviews, we found evidence of how histories of trauma, and situational factors relating to the care environment interact to cause increased criminalisation. While there have been many policy initiatives developed to address this criminalisation, in all parts of our study we found little evidence these are having an impact on practice in relation to care-experienced children. Some innovations we observed in our UK case study offer potential solutions to address this serious and ongoing problem.


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