Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Social Work (MSW)


Social Work

First Advisor

Maria Dinis, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Vern Bloom, MSW

Third Advisor

Betty Merritt, MSW


This hermeneutic study examines the lived experience of one female juvenile offender as she went through the restorative justice practice of either victim-offender mediation (VOM) or group conferencing. Hermeneutics is an interpretive approach to looking at everyday experiences and uncovering what is usually hidden from us. When asked about her experience, one theme stood out as essential for the participant: becoming trustworthy. Several aspects including being listened to, re-developing relationships, and making amends with those who were harmed by the crime marked the participant's transformation. These findings correspond with Erikson's psychosocial stages of adolescence and young adulthood, as well as the work of developmental theorist, Carol Gilligan. Implications for social work practice include gaining a better understanding of the unique experiences of female adolescent offenders and aiding in the development of gender-specific programming in the field of juvenile corrections.


SC 11.MSW.2000.Houghtal.LA

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Social Work Commons