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Moving on from Crime and Substance UseTransforming Identities$
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Anne Robinson and Paula Hamilton

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9781447324676

Published to Policy Press Scholarship Online: May 2017

DOI: 10.1332/policypress/9781447324676.001.0001

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Lived desistance: understanding how women experience giving up offending

Lived desistance: understanding how women experience giving up offending

Chapter:
(p.67) Four Lived desistance: understanding how women experience giving up offending
Source:
Moving on from Crime and Substance Use
Author(s):

Sarah Goodwin

Publisher:
Policy Press
DOI:10.1332/policypress/9781447324676.003.0005

This chapter extends the analysis of gender, in this instance exploring the lived experiences of women in a period of change. While women’s experiences are similar to men’s in many respects, the author’s discussions over a period of time with a sample of women attending a day centre, reveal some intriguing differences. She highlights the significance of living in long-term abusive relationships for confidence and self-perception. Additionally, she questions assumptions about desistance necessarily involving a ‘replacement identity’; aspects of self may be reworked and, on occasions, the process is more akin to finding a ‘lost’ self after ending a violent relationship or seeking drug use. For the women in this study, identities were often precarious, reflecting the early and fragile nature of their desistance. Being or becoming a caregiver – a more socially available role for women than for men – was often a key element in the women’s accounts of change.

Keywords:   desistance, gender, confidence, women, identity

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