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Women Offender Programs and Issues

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Parenting Roles And Experiences Of Abuse In Women Offenders: Review Of The Offender Intake Assessments

Runaways and foster homes

In the case of 52 women, it was indicated that they ran away from home before they were of legal age. In most cases, women's running away from home was associated with dysfunctional/abusive homes. Their subsequent experiences upon leaving home indicated that running away from home in many instances only exposed the women to further abuse and to different abusers, and did not create a change toward a safer living environment. There was also a smaller number of women who stated that they did not experience any type of abuse in the environment where they grew up, yet they ran away from home. The stated reasons for running away from home were mostly "to accompany friends" and "to see what it was like to be on your own." Given the small sample size and often incomplete data on this issue on one hand, and the potential relevance of these events to women's lives on the other, a greater in-depth examination of the relationship between the quality of childhood environments and the likelihood of women's running away from home needs to be pursued.

It was documented for 77 women that they were removed from their parental homes to live in foster homes for part or most of their childhood. Exploration of the reasons for foster care arrangements shows that during their childhood, women were often apprehended and placed in foster care due to neglect or abuse they suffered from their parent(s). However, in some cases, it was stated that a woman was a difficult child with behavioral problems, and/or the parents themselves asked for a child to be put into a foster home because they could not deal with her. In some instances, women conveyed that they were a "burden" to their parent(s) and/or that they were "sent" to a foster home for "disciplinary" reasons. These experiences may be of crucial relevance to women's lives. However, the available information was collected on a very small sample size, and needs to be explored further.