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Title: Critical analysis of rights based approaches to children 'at risk of offending' in Northern Ireland
Author: Haydon, D.
ISNI:       0000 0004 5372 9540
Awarding Body: Queen's University Belfast
Current Institution: Queen's University Belfast
Date of Award: 2014
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Following the 1998 Good Friday! Belfast Agreement, Northern Ireland has experienced unprecedented social and political change, its communities in transition from armed conflict. In 2007 devolution of powers from the British Government to the Northern Ireland Assembly was finally secured, with policing and criminal justice devolved in 2010. Since the late 1990s, the UK Government has consolidated 'early intervention' strategies targeting children and young people considered 'at risk' of 'negative outcomes', including their involvement in 'anti-social' or 'offending' behaviour. Pre-devolution these strategies influenced policy development in Northern Ireland, albeit with significant differences reflecting the jurisdiction's particular circumstances. The thesis examines the theoretical underpinnings of early intervention aimed at prevention of offending and the impact of 'risk' discourses in the development of early intervention programmes. Adopting a critical the, theoretical framework, it synthesises debates about social constructions of childhood, promotion of a children's rights agenda and the overarching dynamic of structural inequality. Following a detailed policy review, the primary research explores the implementation of Northern Ireland's 'Early Intervention for the Prevention of Offending' Programme, introduced in 2008. Funded by the Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety and the (then) Northern Ireland Office, this Programme was delivered by three independent NGOs through five discrete Projects. Conducted in 2010, the qualitative research included semi-structured interviews with children aged 8-14, focus groups with Project staff and structured 'interviews with Project Workers - mapping the Programme's development and implementation from contrasting perspectives. Central to the thesis is the impact on state policy and professional practice of adult assumptions regarding 'normal' and 'acceptable' behaviour for 'children' and 'youth'. The research findings are critically analysed in the final chapter to draw out tensions and contradictions implicit in interventions that seek to address the complex needs and entitlements of children whose lives and experiences reflect the dynamics of structural inequalities.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available