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Addressing women's victimisation histories in custodial settings

Author(s) Mary Stathopoulos
Title Addressing women's victimisation histories in custodial settings
Source ACSSA Issues, 2012, No 13, pp 1-20
Date 2012 
Document type Research report
Coverage Australia
Summary This article examines the prevalence of women in prison who have extensive victimisation histories including childhood sexual assault, intimate partner violence and violence from others. The author reviews the literature on female offenders who are also victim/survivors of sexual abuse, including the women's profiles, sentencing outcomes, prevalence of child sexual abuse, impacts of child sexual abuse and the characteristics of the pathways to offending. Challenges in addressing trauma in correctional settings are explored in depth, including the need for victim/survivors of sexual abuse to be in a safe environment. Re-traumatising practices in prisons, such as the use of strip searches are also discussed, with suggestions for limiting the practice. An additional challenge is the often short-term or transitory nature of women's time in prison, such as the high proportion of women on remand, and the difficulty of conducting meaningful therapy in these circumstances. The effectiveness of two practice frameworks for women in prison with victimisation histories, trauma-informed care and practice framework and gender-responsive framework are considered and recommendations are made for further research and evaluations.
Keywords Victimisation; sexual abuse; women; prison; therapy.

Service delivery ; sexual assault