A safe, just and equal world for women

Advance Statement on Early and Automatic Releases

July 11, 2024
We cautiously welcome the news that the Government will make changes to the early and automatic release of prisoners, excluding violent and dangerous domestic abusers.

We strongly urge the Government to consider applying changes with the women’s estate, as well as the men’s. Evidence proves that custodial sentences often do not work to break the cycle of offending for women who are in contact with the criminal justice system, most of whom have underlying needs which drive their offending behaviour – at least 70% of whom have experienced domestic abuse and other forms of trauma.

Whilst imprisoning perpetrators of domestic abuse on short sentences can offer “breathing space” and short-term safety for victim-survivors, we know that incarceration won’t always be the best long-term option, or even what survivors want. As part of a Coordinated Community Response to end domestic abuse, we need to see long-term change, including effective preventative education which models healthy relationships, consent, and boundaries. We must also see the roll-out of safe perpetrator programmes available nationally.

Thanks to Advance’s 25 years’ experience of providing community-based services for women, we know that effective support in the community can radically change lives. This is why we are cautiously optimistic about the potential changes to End of Custody Supervised License (ECSL). These changes however must be done in a safe way, to ensure that women are protected and supported.

To do this, we need extensive and flexible funding for specialist community services, including those for women, as well as specialist mental health and substance use treatment options.

Before abuse escalates, there must be appropriate safeguards on perpetrators, such as properly effective protection orders and accurate electronic monitoring. For meaningful, long-term change, perpetrators must have access to safe, accredited perpetrator programmes.

The probation service – which is already so stretched that they have had to abandon people before the end of their sentence – must receive proper attention and resourcing to be able to properly respond to an increase in demand.

Fundamentally, survivors of domestic abuse must be kept safe. High risk abusers should NOT be released into the community.

We urge that more funding is allocated to community-based organisations, including specialist support for women in contact with the criminal justice system and the probation system. We also call for the national roll-out of best-practice perpetrator programmes.

Media enquiries

For more information, please contact Tracie Couper, Press Officer at Advance, at tracie.c@advancecharity.org.uk or on 0743 2700 287.

Notes to the editor 
About Advance
  • Advance’s vision is a world in which women and children lead safe, equal, violence-free lives so that they can flourish and actively contribute to society. The charity works with women who experience domestic abuse to be safe and take control of their lives, and women who have committed crime or are at risk of offending to break the cycle.
  • As well as providing direct support, Advance works with statutory services, government agencies and other women’s charities to ensure a holistic approach to the issues these women face.
  • Women must be referred to Advance, via statutory services or the charity’s self-referral scheme. For more information about who Advance is able to support, please visit Get help 
  • For facts and statistics about domestic abuse and women in the criminal justice system, as well as Advance’s work, please visit Our impact 


Picture of empty prison
Skip to content