L-CYR Seminar Series: Multi-agency responses to the criminalisation and victimisation of looked-after children

Dr Sarah Greenhow (Liverpool John Moores University) presents as part of the Leeds Centre for Interdisciplinary Childhood and Youth Research (L- CYR) Seminar Series.

This seminar discusses the findings from research conducted with practitioners working within multi-agency settings with regard to responses to the criminalisation and victimisation of children in care, and outline recommendations for future practice.


It has long been acknowledged that outcomes for looked-after children compare unfavourably with children in the general population in the UK. More particularly, children in care are at risk of both criminalisation and victimisation resulting in a consequent diminution of their life chances. This paper discusses qualitative data collected in 2016-2017 through six focus groups with 36 practitioners in total, working within multi-agency settings.

Participants included representatives from police, youth offending teams and social services. Practitioners felt that children in care were particularly vulnerable to certain forms of victimisation and to coming into contact with the youth justice system. Whilst multi-agency working was thought to have improved responses to these forms of vulnerability, there were challenges. This paper will make a number of recommendations, particularly in relation to recognising the vulnerability of children in care when responding to ‘criminal’ behaviour.

Dr Sarah Greenhow is a lecturer in the Criminology Department at Liverpool John Moores University. Sarah’s doctoral research, completed in 2015, explored the impact of social media on post-adoption contact between adopted children and their birth relatives. Sarah is now working on two research projects relating to 1) multi-agency responses to the criminalisation and victimisation of looked-after children and 2) the relationship between children and young people’s experiences of online harm and offline socio-economic vulnerabilities.


All welcome, no registration required.

Location details

Coach House
School of Education
Hillary Place
University of Leeds

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