Female Offenders

Authored by: Vivienne de Vogel , Marijke Louppen

Handbook of Forensic Mental Health Services

Print publication date:  May  2017
Online publication date:  May  2017

Print ISBN: 9781138645943
eBook ISBN: 9781315627823
Adobe ISBN:

10.4324/9781315627823.ch13

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Abstract

Britt was born in 1981 (she is currently 35 years old) as the second of four children. Her mother worked as a prostitute and suffered from severe depression and her father was dominant, abused alcohol, and was frequently imprisoned, mostly for property offenses. In her youth, Britt’s family situation was not stable; there were many verbal fights within the home and reports of domestic violence. Britt claimed to have been sexually abused by several male family members and by clients of her mother. She was admitted to a sheltered living home for a few weeks at the age of eight. Britt’s parents got a divorce when she was nine years old. Subsequently, both parents were not capable of taking care of the children and she and her siblings were placed in different foster homes. Britt was very upset and had difficulty adapting to the situation. When she was 12 years old, she started drinking alcohol and using drugs and soon thereafter her psychosocial functioning deteriorated. She quitted school and started hanging out with delinquent friends. She was convicted for the first time when she was 13 years old for being an accomplice to assault. Over the next 10 years, she was arrested many times, leading up to 16 convictions for property offenses with violence, arson, embezzlement, disturbing the peace in public space, and property damage. Throughout her life, she had a few intimate relationships; all were characterized by mutual violence. At the age of 17, she was forced by one of her boyfriends to work as a prostitute. Britt was reported to have her first psychosis after using large amounts of drugs when she was 19 years old. She was admitted to a psychiatric hospital but she did not comply with the rules and she ran away at the first opportunity. Multiple admissions followed, but every time treatment failed because Britt ran away or showed disruptive and violent behavior. For example, she dealt drugs, stole from other patients, and assaulted a female nurse by pulling her hair and throwing hot tea in her face. At the age of 21, Britt seriously assaulted a bus driver—apparently without a reason. She caused a nuisance by walking naked, drunk, and screaming on the streets. When the police arrested her, she assaulted one of the police officers by punching her in the face and by pulling her hair. Britt was discharged from prosecution and sentenced to mandatory treatment in a forensic psychiatric hospital for the assault of the bus driver and the police officer.

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