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Working Title of PhD:  Young People’s Perceptions of their Routes Into Secure Care

Year commenced PhD study: 2019  
University of Strathclyde
Full or part-time:  Part time
PhD Supervisors: Professor Laura Piacentini and Dr Laura Steckley

Synopsis: Scotland’s secure estate provides intense and restrictive care to the most vulnerable, risky – yet resilient – young people in our society.  It has been described as the ‘last option’ in many cases, and delivers support to children experiencing acute mental illness, sexual exploitation, risky behaviours and harmful behaviours.  Research currently being undertaken by the Centre for Youth and Criminal Justice and by colleagues in other parts of the United Kingdom have shone a light on the significant levels of adversity, trauma, disadvantage and deprivation encountered by young people who are accommodated within secure settings.

What is missing from this work, however, is the voice of the young people in question.  Adopting a variety of interactive and qualitative approaches this study will seek to capture the views of those who are resident there, inviting them to provide an insight into the life experiences which – in their opinion – have precipitated their admission to that setting.

This study expects to touch on subjects such as practitioner perceptions of youth risk taking, concepts of gender stereotyping, paternalism, poverty, justice and equity; all from the perception of the young people who have experienced the challenging process of entering the secure care estate.  In doing so, not only will this research privilege and amplify the voice of young people who have encountered the system in question, but it will seek to consider what implications these findings may have upon practice, policy and legislation.



University of Strathclyde


Centre for Youth & Criminal Justice
University of Strathclyde
Lord Hope Building, Level 6
141 St. James Road
G4 0LT

Research Themes

Young People and Youth Justice

No Publications Available

No Projects Available


13th July 2020

Giving Voice to Children in Secure Care