The Centre for Youth & Criminal Justice has produced a report on Strengths, Needs and Adverse Childhood Experiences in young women at high risk. This full report can be viewed here.

Introduction

There has been an increased focus on the needs and risks of young women in Scotland across both the youth and adult justice systems, not least as a result of the report of the Commission on Women Offenders (Scottish Government, 2012) designed to examine how women are dealt with in the criminal justice system and subsequent Scottish Government response to it (Macaskill, 2012) . The report stressed the need for a gender-specific response to women offenders, in light of a justice system that has been primarily designed around the needs of male offenders. In response to this shift CYCJ, with support and funding from the Scottish Government, have developed resources specific to vulnerable girls, for example ‘Improving Practice for Girls: To cut a long story short’1. CYCJ has also drawn attention to the particular needs of Girls and Young Women in the frequently updated Guide to Youth Justice in Scotland: policy, practice and legislation.2

To continue to address the needs of this population, Up-2-Us, a third sector organisation that works in a flexible, holistic, person-centred way to support vulnerable young people and families across West Central Scotland, designed a monitoring tool for use with service users in their young women’s project ‘Time for Change’. This tool was intended to help identify the unique needs of the young women they support, described as ‘high risk’ in regards to offending, substance use and harm to self; additionally having vulnerability in regards to their relationships with others, poor wellbeing, homelessness, experience of trauma, neglect and abuse and being care experienced. In addition the tool was intended to provide the means to discuss concerns identified on an ongoing basis and record changes over time. Crucially the tool was conceived and created using a strengths-based design aimed to promote the positive aspects of the young women’s lives.