The working relationship and desistance: What constitutes a ‘good quality’ working relationship?

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This paper presents findings from a small-scale exploratory piece of research that examined perceptions of what constitutes a ‘good quality’ working relationship between the practitioner and the child, within the criminal justice system. Using a qualitative approach, focus groups and interviews were conducted with practitioners and children, based in two Youth Offending Teams in Wales, United Kingdom. The study sought to explore the characteristics of a ‘good quality’ working relationship, from two different perspectives: (1) the practitioners and (2) the children. Using thematic analysis, findings revealed that whilst both practitioners and children perceived trust to be an important characteristic of a ‘good quality’ working relationship, differences between their perceptions did exist, with practitioners focussing more on the characteristics of reliability and time; and children highlighting the characteristics of genuineness and comfort. It was concluded that such disparity between the way practitioners and children perceive a ‘good quality’ working relationship has important implications for youth justice practice and desistance for children.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)77-99
Number of pages23
JournalSalus Journal — A Journal of Law Enforcement, National Security, and Emergency Management
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2 Apr 2020


  • desistance
  • youth offending
  • working relationship
  • good quality


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