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Dr Alex Newbury Centre for Criminology and Sociology Royal Holloway University of London.

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Presentation on theme: "Dr Alex Newbury Centre for Criminology and Sociology Royal Holloway University of London."— Presentation transcript:

1 Dr Alex Newbury Centre for Criminology and Sociology Royal Holloway University of London

2 Young people’s views about the impact of alcohol on their offending behaviour: Is it different for girls? Dr Alex Newbury, Lecturer in Criminology and Law Centre for Criminology and Sociology

3 + Introduction Research with young offenders receiving referral orders Findings relating to alcohol Differences in accounts on gender lines relating to perceived impact of alcohol Concerns about lack of knowledge about alcohol Need for tailored educational approach

4 Research Methodology and Demographic Data

5 + Key Features Adopting a restorative approach to Youth Justice Attempt to involve victims in the process For use with: Young offenders Pleading Guilty First offence coming before the court Centres around a panel meeting Young offender Victim Young offender’s parent Community Panel Members Youth Offending Team Worker

6 + Pilot study (4 cases) Main research Observing 41 Panels Conducting 55 interviews with 31 young offenders 31 First interviews (after initial panel meeting) 20 Final interviews (at completion of referral order) 4 Interviews conducted following re-offending by young person during the period of the referral order 10 young people were not interviewed for various reasons: breach of referral order non-compliance with YOT refusal to be interviewed serial non-attendance at arranged interview times Research Methodology

7 Demographic Data Young Offenders (n=41) 12 female Age range years old Cases directly connected to alcohol = 7 of 12 (58%) 6 of 7 convicted of violent offences (86%) 29 male Age range years old Cases directly connected to alcohol = 10 of 29 (34%) 9 of 10 convictions for non-violent crime (driving OPL, criminal damage, vehicle interference, burglary)

8 Young people’s perceptions of what is ‘normal’ drinking

9 Social Norms Theory Alternative to traditional fear-based approaches to health education Recognizes that individuals - particularly young adults – tend to overestimate how much and how frequently their peer group drink alcohol This perception of complying with a ‘social norm’ results in heavier drinking

10 Female young offender, 15 years old “Well, I had been drinking with my friends and I had drunk most of a 70cl bottle of vodka on my own, which is a lot for me. I don’t drink a lot and I get drunk very easily, and that was so much for me. And then we went into a pizza shop and asked to use the toilet but they didn’t let us use the toilet. I can’t remember much of this; it is just what I have been told. I can’t actually remember anything.”

11 The impact of alcohol – is it different for girls?

12 Outcomes associated with binge drinking – is it different for girls? Research by the Trust for the Study of Adolescence found significant variations in relation to gender: Young women reported – Regretted sexual experiences – Walking home alone Young men reported – Incidences of fighting – Daring behaviour Source: Coleman L and Cater S (2005) “Underage ‘binge’ drinking: A qualitative study into motivation and outcomes” in Drugs: Education, Prevention and Policy, Vol 12, No 2,

13 Outcomes associated with binge drinking – is it different for girls? Female Sexual Experiences Walking home alone Regret / Remorse Perceived as risky Male Fighting Daring behaviour Bravado Perceived as fun

14 Empathy and Consequentialist Thinking – is it different for girls? One-to-one interviews with young people found significant variations in relation to gender: Young women involved in assaults reported – Remorse and shame – Perceived as uncharacteristic behaviour due to alcohol Young men – Downplayed role of alcohol in offending behaviour – Justified violence due to anger, settling a score or being in a rival gang Source: Newbury A and Dingwall G (2013) “’It lets out all my Demons’: Female young offenders’ perceptions about the impact of alcohol on their offending behaviour” in International Journal of Law, Crime and Justice, 41,

15 Empathy and consequentialist thinking – is it different for girls? Female Offending connected to drinking resulted in assaults Regret / Remorse Shame Alcohol perceived as ‘letting out all my demons’ Male Offending connected to drinking resulted in range of behaviours Justification Role of alcohol in offending minimised

16 Female young offender, 15 years old, charged with assaulting and beating a shop owner whilst drunk “Definitely seeing him at court did, he seemed very upset. When I had done it I couldn’t remember who he was or what he looked like, but when I saw him there, that made me realize he was actually a person. I mean, if you don’t actually see anyone, and you can’t remember seeing them, you don’t really think about it that much.”

17 Female young offender, 16 years old, charged with assaulting a police officer whilst drunk “Because I feel ashamed about what I have done. I do feel really, really guilty because he was only doing his job. I would just feel so ashamed I wouldn’t be able to look in his face.”

18 Male, 17 years, driving whilst OPL “Well the thing I’ve done ain’t nothing to do with it. Didn’t hurt no-one, didn’t damage nothing. So I don’t know...” Interviewer: “I suppose it is about the potential: that potentially if you are drink driving, you could hit something and hurt yourself or run someone over because you wouldn’t be as in control of your vehicle as if you hadn’t been drinking.” “Yes, but that didn’t happen, so… Well I just think it is a load of bollocks really, not worth it.”

19 Mal e, 17 years, driving whilst OPL “It is supposed to get you back on track, isn’t it? But I wasn’t off track, I had just done one stupid thing. That is the thing. I haven’t actually been running around beating up old ladies or anything. I have just done one stupid thing and I ended up down here.”

20 Male, 16 years, assault by beating “It was just an argument, blah blah, and it just dragged on, and he gave me mouth and then I saw him doing it again so I went to beat him up and I didn’t really give him another chance… I am not regretting what I did because he deserved it to be honest … not being nice to little kids and that.”

21 Changing risky behaviour: A Tailored Educational Approach

22 Tailored Educational Approach Alcohol Education – the nuts and bolts – Safe drinking strategies – What is a unit? How many units in a drink? How many units in a night? – What is ‘binge drinking’? Social Norms Theory Vignettes encouraging empathy and consequentialist thinking


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