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The dynamics of female offending: case studies in Scotland.

Tyler, Linda


Linda Tyler


Nancy Loucks

Loraine Gelsthorpe

John Love


This research examines female offending in Scotland, and assesses our current understanding of its nature and causes. It acknowledges the importance of work carried out in the area of female criminality in the last twenty years, but stresses that our knowledge of the subject is still limited in comparison to the amount of work carried out in the area of male criminality. The thesis is in three parts. Firstly, it provides a review of the literature, exploring the validity of previous research (Chapters One and Two). It examines and shows the limitations of both classical theoretical perspectives (largely based on biological views of women) and modem studies, many of which are based on research on male offenders. It is shown that these theories cannot adequately account for female offending. This part of the thesis goes on to bring together individual and situational factors thought to be associated with female offending, based on current research. The second part of the thesis (Chapters Three to Five) presents the results of the empirical study on which this research is based. A fieldwork project was carried out, based on detailed and semi-structured interviews with 26 women offenders in Scotland. Their present life experiences, their histories and their views about the reasons for their offending are examined. A complex picture emerges, of women with experience of being in care, of domestic violence and sexual abuse, and of women with family, drink and drug and psychiatric problems. Follow-up interviews were also conducted. These findings are discussed, and they illustrate the importance to these women of support, whether practical (including financial) or emotional, and its impact on recidivism or desistance. Finally, the main arguments and findings to emerge from the study are considered (Chapter Six). These show that the women shared common characteristics and negative life events. Putting the research to use is also discussed and suggestions are made for future work.


TYLER, L. 2001. The dynamics of female offending: case studies in Scotland. Robert Gordon University, PhD thesis. Hosted on OpenAIR [online]. Available from:

Thesis Type Thesis
Deposit Date Jun 23, 2022
Publicly Available Date Jun 23, 2022
Keywords Female offenders; Women and crime; Scotland
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