Victimization and help-seeking behaviors among female prisoners in Illinois

Author(s)Reichert, Jessica, Adams, Sharyn and Lindsay Bostwick
Title Victimization and help-seeking behaviors among female prisoners in Illinois
Source Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority, April 2010
Date 2010
Document type Research report
Coverage Illinois, USA
Summary This study was designed to examine in depth victimisation across the life course of female inmates. The participants were female inmates from three Illinois prisons and the study incorporated a life history calendar to record events that happened over the life course of each woman interviewed. Almost all of the incarcerated women interviewed experienced emotional, physical and/or sexual abuse at some point in their lives. Researchers also had access to prior survey tools administered in the prisons and it was found that 60 per cent of the women in the study showed symptoms of PTSD. Women with higher scores on the PTSD inventory were more likely to experience higher physical abuse severity, higher sexual abuse severity and more combinations of abuse types. Additionally, it was found that women with higher PTSD scores were more likely to seek more types of help. The implications for policy and practice were considered including a need for services. The study showed a strong correlation between sexual abuse and physical abuse. Therefore, it was concluded that if a woman discloses one type of victimisation, service providers should screen for other types of abuse.
Keywords Women prisoners; victimisation; life history
Topic Service delivery