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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

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

Sarah Goodwin

Policy Press

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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