The Parenting Education Needs of Aboriginal Women Experiencing Incarceration

Belinda J. Lovell*, Mary Steen, Angela Brown, Karen Glover, Adrian Esterman

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The aim of this study was to listen to the voices of women experiencing incarceration and understand their parenting education needs. This paper reports on data from focus group interviews with 13 Aboriginal women in prison. The data were analysed using reflexive thematic analysis, creating five themes: (1) working towards a positive self; (2) communication (3) parenting from a distance; (4) jumping through hoops to get connected; and (5) connecting with Aboriginal cultures. The women were seeking guidance and clarity about the Child Protection system and how to regain child custody. Many women were wanting to invest in self-care and expressed a need to connect with their community and cultures, suggesting the opportunity to have a yarning circle with their Elders whilst in prison. The majority of women wanted to attend a parenting education program that included Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander women only. The need for a parenting program that will be guided by a trauma-informed approach and utilise reflective practice of ‘lived experiences’ to develop skills and wisdom was identified as being vitally important to meet the needs of women experiencing incarceration.
Original languageEnglish
Article number3
Pages (from-to)1-30
Number of pages30
JournalJournal of the Australian Indigenous HealthInfoNet
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 15 Oct 2023

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