Girls in Justice

Pathways Into and Out of Offending for Girls

Recorded November 18, 2020


Gena Castro-Rodriguez

Elizabeth Cauffman

Patricia Lee

If you would like to ask any of our panelists a question, go to their bio page and click on Start a Conversation

In this fascinating and in-depth webinar, Drs. Gena Castro-Rodriguez and Elizabeth Cauffman present on trauma and other risk factors that lead girls to delinquency in a panel moderated by Symposium partner Patricia Lee of the San Francisco Public Defender’s Office. Dr. Castro-Rodriguez, of the Victim Services Division of the San Francisco District Attorney’s Office, speaks about pathways into offending for girls. Her presentation addresses gendered violence, different types of abuse and their developmental impacts, protective reactions to abuse, the delinquency response system, and special considerations that need to be taken into account when dealing with girls in conflict with the law.

Dr. Cauffman of the University of California, Irvine, speaks about the Pathways to Desistance study that followed over 1,300 juvenile offenders, 14 percent of which were female, for seven years after their convictions. Her presentation addresses trajectories and risk factors for youth offending, as well as predictors for persistence female offending and pathways to desistance.

Here are some key takeaways from this event:

“There’s a cycle to violence. It’s not just the trauma or the event that happens during that abuse, but it’s the pathway that leads to the risk for potential violent behavior, increased potential for criminal behavior, and, unfortunately, increased risk for re-victimization. What we really want to focus on is how we address the abuse in children, how we try to intervene and get young people to safe places, and how we treat that trauma so that we don’t end up with this cycle.” – Gena Castro-Rodriguez

“Girls follow different pathways. While they exhibit similar pathways to males, that level of severity is different between males and females. There are several risk factors that predict this persistent offending pattern. The psychological components of mental health, that ability to think long term. The rates of trauma and victimization are key in keeping them engaged—this is something that definitely needs to be addressed—and, ultimately, the susceptibility and influence of these interpersonal relationships. Girls are relational, and these relationships have a big effect on their behavior.” – Elizabeth Cauffman


Pathways to Delinquency
Annotated Bibliography: Girls in Conflict With the Law