Being a ‘good woman’: stigma, relationships and desistance

Natalie Rutter, Una Barr

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    31 Citations (Scopus)


    This article critiques the focus on responsibilisation of criminalised women within desistance research, policy and practice, through the neglect of the structural conditions surrounding women’s criminalisation and victimisation. The concept of the ‘good woman’ within these areas is grounded in patriarchal and neoliberal discourse. Drawing upon women’s narratives, we show this results in feelings of shame and stigmatisation, negatively affecting relational networks and leading to a denial of victimhood. Research from two complementing studies drawn together here suggest that positive relationships which challenge feelings of shame and stigmatisation are essential to women’s desistance both from crime and harm, and are therefore fundamental considerations for practice.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalProbation Journal
    Publication statusPublished - 10 May 2021


    • desistance
    • responsibilisation
    • criminalisation
    • victimisation
    • relationships
    • stigmatisation
    • shame


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