Mothering after Moomba: Labelling, secondary stigma and maternal efficacy in the post-settlement context

Sara Maher, Jarrett Blaustein, Kathryn Benier, Joseph Chitambo, Diana Johns

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Parenting can impact young people’s justice system involvement but there is a scarcity of research that examines how parenting practices, specifically mothering, are influenced by labelling processes. Accordingly, this article considers how the labelling of young people from forced migration backgrounds as criminals impacted mothering and maternal efficacy during a ‘law and order crisis’ in Melbourne, Australia. Drawing on interviews and focus groups with mothers and young people of South Sudanese heritage, we illustrate how this hostile social climate generated secondary stigma, and amplified anxieties and concerns about inclusivity and belonging. The research advances our theoretical understanding of parental control and parental efficacy in the post-settlement context by bringing the gendered experiences of mothers as providers of supervision and support into focus. It suggests labelling may undermine maternal efficacy and exacerbate intercultural and intergenerational tensions, but that community involvement may support parents and mitigate the risk of deviance amplification.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages22
JournalTheoretical Criminology
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2020


  • Deviance amplification
  • forced migration
  • labelling
  • maternal efficacy
  • parental efficacy
  • post-settlement
  • secondary stigma
  • South Sudanese community

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