The main reason for boys entering secure accommodation is violence, but girls are more likely to be there for sexual risk-taking or self-harm, or because they might abscond. Practitioners of all grades and backgrounds often highlight their struggles to engage with vulnerable and high risk girls and young women.

Partly due to their numbers, they are expected to fit into a system primarily designed for boys and young men, and there is much less research and investment directed at programmes to help them. They may also be held for longer – ‘for their own good’ – even when they are victims not perpetrators. Who exactly are we protecting when we lock up girls? Are they punished for failing to meet our expectations of how they ‘should’ behave?

In this fascinating presentation, Carole also explained how challenging girls use relational aggression, and why trauma group work with girls is such a bad idea.

Carole Dearie is Depute Head of Service at The Good Shepherd Centre, and has worked in residential and secure care for more than 25 years.

You can download Carole's presentation using the link below.


Carole Dearie: Why are we still getting it wrong for girls? (PDF)