‘Ensuring offenders' awareness of the effects of crime on the victims of crime and the public’ is one of five stated aims of the National Probation Service of England and Wales and specifically undertaking victim awareness work is an expectation of the service’s work. The nature and putative value of such work appears to be rarely questioned however. It is argued that ‘victim awareness’ is a confused concept in terms of its rationale, definition, and empirical basis as a criminogenic need. These issues are evaluated and the practice implications discussed. A possible model of victim awareness work is described.
Research suggests that mentoring may facilitate offender rehabilitation. Less is known about the impact on mentors, especially those who are ex-offenders. This study uses in-depth interviews with eight ex-offender mentors to explore the processes through which such schemes can be effective. Four key categories emerged: self-satisfaction; mutual benefit; mechanisms underlying success; and negative aspects of mentoring. Mentoring was experienced as a rewarding and mutually beneficial career which may reduce the social stigma of being an ex-offender. Challenges for mentors included dealing with failure or frustration and managing risk. Findings suggest that participation in mentoring schemes should be voluntary rather than compulsory and future schemes should consider employing ex-offenders as mentors and role models, to benefit from their lived experience, despite the barriers and challenges involved.
What was she thinking?1 Women who sexually offend against children – implications for probation practice
Female child sex abusers have tended to form a neglected area of study and the significance for professional practice in understanding this group of offenders has only recently achieved recognition. This article traces the burgeoning research literature on the characteristics of women perpetrators and those they abuse and finds that the damage caused to victims is severe, affecting every area of their lives throughout their lives. Although there are relatively few female sex offenders in the Criminal Justice System this article highlights that many more prisoners and probationers will have suffered at the receiving end of this type of abuse. The implications for good practice in probation work are discussed.