Guide launched to ensure women’s health and wellbeing needs are not missed by criminal justice staff

This weekmental health charity Together has launched a new guide offeringprofessionals the tools to recognise and respond to the health and wellbeingneeds of women offenders.

Despiterecommendations made in the 2007Corston report, around 13,500 women are still sent to prison each year.More than half of these women have severe mental illness and the sameproportion will have experienced domestic violence.

Written byfront-line forensic mental health practitioners from Together’s Women’s CourtLiaison and Outreach Service, the aim of the guide is to support professionalsto identify and address the needs of women offenders. It does this by givingthem practical guidance on spotting potential issues, as well as the tools torefer women to specialist community-based support services that can improvetheir wellbeing and tackle their offending.

The guide, ‘A common sense approach toworking with women with health and wellbeing needs in the criminal justicesystem’, was launched by Vera Baird, Police and Crime Commissioner forNorthumbria.

LindaBryant, Manager of Together’s Criminal Justice services said: “Together’s experience of workingwith women at court and within probation is that they are less likely to drawattention to their needs, often due to depression or anxiety or fear of the repercussions.

“Wehave to make sure we identify the health and wellbeing needs of these women –needs that are often significant factors in their offending – so that we candivert them to specialist community services equipped to support them. Thismust be done at the earliest possible point; before these needs escalate,before offending behaviour becomes engrained and before a revolving door cyclebecomes inevitable. 

“Wehope that this guide offers everyone working on the criminal justice frontline– from police to the Judiciary – the practical tools needed to set women on thepath to wellbeing.”

Click here to download thenew guide.