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Women

Introduction

Clinks seeks to highlight the specific and often neglected needs of women offenders, and to provide support to the organisations which work with them. We carry out this work in partnership with specialist women's organisations such as Agenda, and provider organisations such as Women in Prison.

Through these partnerships, we continue to make the case for the distinct needs of women offenders to be recognised and addressed by the criminal justice system and related agencies.

Due to the Tranforming Rehabilitation agenda, NOMS has now published the Women's Custodial Estate Review. Alongside this, the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) has published the Government response to the Justice Select Committee report on female offenders. Clinks has produced a briefing summarising the headline recommendations made within both of these documents.

Women's Breakout merger

Following careful consideration by the Boards of Women’s Breakout and Clinks, alongside consultation with Women’s Breakout members, it was agreed that Women’s Breakout should merge into Clinks, and the merger took place on the 1st August 2017.

Clinks is committed to supporting women’s centres and the wider women’s sector. We know that strong community-based women’s services are the best way to make a real difference to the lives of women at risk of entering, or those already in, the criminal justice system. We will consult with Women’s Breakout members to make sure we understand their priorities and support needs. This will allow Clinks to seek the funding we need to make sure we can have a positive impact.

For further information about the merger please contact Clinks’ Head of Strategic Development, Kate Aldous: kate.aldous@clinks.org

Women's networking forum

The Reducing Reoffending Third Sector Advisory Group (RR3) exists with the purpose of building a strong and effective partnership between the voluntary sector and the Ministry of Justice. The chair for the group and its secretariat is provided by Clinks. The terms of reference for the RR3 allow for the development of time-limited special interest groups to advise on specific areas of policy and practice as the need arises. Currently there is a specialist RR3 group specifically for women.

Breaking the cycle of women's offending: A system re-design

The Reducing Reoffending Third Sector Advisory Group (RR3) has undertaken a swift action-planning exercise looking at routes of girls and women into the criminal justice system. The paper, 'Breaking the cycle of women's offending: A system redesign' declares that a radical transformation is needed to stem the tide of women and girls entering the criminal justice system.

Publications

Case study: the Nelson Trust Women's Centres in Gloucester and Swindon (May 2016) This is the first in a series of in-depth case studies of services working to support women in contact with the Criminal Justice System. This series aims to highlight the impact of current policy and funding arrangements on both the clients and the organisations themselves. For this case study we spoke to Rose Mahon who, at the time, was Women’s Services Manager at The Nelson Trust. Rose had responsibility for two Women’s Centres – one in Gloucester and the other in Swindon.

National policy activity to improve outcomes for women in contact with the Criminal Justice System (November 2015) - Increasingly there is a recognition of the distinct needs experienced by women in contact with the Criminal Justice System (CJS) and that they often require the support of gender specific services to achieve positive outcomes, both for themselves as well as the communities they live in. A range of work is being undertaken across government and the voluntary sector to ensure that this recognition translates into action. In order to inform the sector and support appropriate links to be made between organisations and activities this briefing provides a summary of this work. It focuses on initiatives being taken forward by government and the voluntary sector, and summarises what opportunities there are for you to get involved in them.

Health and care services for women offenders (March 2015) - Results from Clinks' survey of voluntary sector organisations providing health and care services for women in contact with the Criminal Justice System. The report highlights the wide range of services organisations provide, and identifies areas where support needs to be improved.

Who Cares? Where next for women offender services? (September 2014) - Following on from the Run Ragged interim report, this report provides a snapshot into the experience of community based women offender services over the last 18 months. The report concludes with recommendations for meeting the needs of women offenders in the future.

The relationship between debt and financial issues and women's offending (April 2014) - This briefing examines the relationship between debt and financial issues and women’s offending. It focuses on case study examples submitted to Clinks by our members, and follows our response to the Sentencing Council’s Fraud, Bribery and Money Laundering Offences Guideline consultation, and our recent briefing on the Government’s response to the Justice Select Committee’s report on Women Offenders and the Women’s Custodial Estate Review. Clinks director Clive Martin also sits on the Advisory Board for Female Offenders.

Run Ragged: Interim Report (February 2014) - Clinks' study into the current experience of projects providing community based female offender services. The interim report highlights the key findings from interviews with women offender support projects, focusing on the challenges and the good practice during a time of policy change and austerity; and the impact that landscape is also having on service users. Click here for a blog post highlighting some of the main findings of the interim report.

The Government’s response to the Justice Select Committee and Women’s Custodial Estate Review (November 2013) - In July 2013, the Justice Select Committee published the findings from its year-long inquiry that reviewed progress made since the Corston Report. The Ministry of Justice has now published the Government response to this report, setting out its intended approach to managing women offenders. Alongside this, the National Offender Management Service (NOMS) has published the Women’s Custodial Estate Review. This briefing will summarise the headline recommendations made within both of these documents.

Justice Select Committee report on women offenders (2013) - In 2012, the Justice Select Committee began an inquiry to review the progress made since the Corston Report by examining current policy and practice relating to women offenders and those at risk of offending. The Justice Select Committee has now published its findings in Women Offenders: after the Corston Report. This briefing gives a summary of the Committee’s headline recommendations.

Breaking the cycle of women's offending: Where next? (2013) - This report presents key recommendations formulated by the Clinks conference Breaking the cycle of women's offending: Where next?  which took place in December 2012.

Breaking the cycle of women's offending: a system of re-design (2012) - The Reducing Reoffending Third Sector Advisory Group (RR3) convened a Task and Finish Group to explore potential solutions to meeting the needs of girls and women at risk of offending. This report proposes a transformation in the way that services are designed, commissioned and delivered for girls and women at risk of offending, underpinned by a gender-responsive approach.

Safer Future Communities Policy Briefing (February 2012) - This briefing outlines how the changing landscape of policing and victim support will affect organisations working in the violence against women and girls sector.

Guidance on working with foreign national women offenders - This Clinks report provides guidance to organisations which include Foreign National Women among their service users, but are not specialists. It is based on the experience of organisations working with foreign national women, and provides some background information and guidance to generic services to increase thier knowledge and awareness on how to work appropriately with all clients.

Case studies

Find our case studies about women here

SEE ALSO: Links to organisations working with and for women in the CJS