A safe, just and equal world for women

New Berkshire Women’s Centre opens

October 11, 2023
Advance has opened a new women’s centre in Reading to offer support to women in the community across Berkshire, providing a place where they can come together and share, inspire and empower each other.

The Berkshire Women’s Centre is the latest to be opened as part of its network of nine community Women’s Centres across the South and East of England, since the charity began 25 years ago. Advance is the leading charity nationally supporting over 2700 women in contact with the criminal justice system each year. In addition to Berkshire, Advance also works in partnership with other women’s charities and statutory services in Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire, Hampshire, Essex, Hertfordshire, Bedfordshire and Greater London.

Advance’s Chief Executive, Niki Scordi, said:
“From our work with thousands of women each year, we know that prison is not the right place for most women who commit non-violent offences: for as little as failing to pay her TV licence, a woman can lose her home, her job, and her children. At least 6 out of 10 of these women are survivors of domestic abuse. That is as cruel as it is unjust.

For decades, Advance has worked tirelessly to improve outcomes for women and their families who find themselves caught in the ‘revolving door’ of the criminal justice system, helping them to change their lives and break the cycle of offending.”

Caroline Phillips, Advance Service Manager Thames Valley:
“We are delighted to be opening our new Women’s Centre in Reading.  We are proud to have created a calm, safe, welcoming space for women to come along, meet with our advocates and be involved in events and activities with other women.  Women have welcomed the new centre, with one saying, ‘I felt relaxed as soon as I walked through the door.’ When the first woman came through our doors, the biggest smile broke out on her face.”

Any woman in the county of Berkshire will be able to make use of the services of the centre. Women are referred there by Probation services and other partners and are supported through all their needs, including domestic abuse, accommodation, education and training, substance recovery, mental health and emotional wellbeing.

Advance’s Women’s Centres and our specialist support, led by and for women, offers a vital alternative to custody and recognises that women in the criminal justice system have very different needs to men.

Women’s offending is more often than not directly linked to their experience of domestic abuse: 57% of women in prison and under community supervision report being victims of domestic abuse. The true figure is likely higher, as many women fear disclosing abuse.

They are also more often than not the primary caregiver and when in custody, even for short periods, the impact on the children and families can be significant and long-term.


For all press enquiries, please contact:

E: tracie.c@advancecharity.org.uk

T: 020 39533111

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.
  • 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
Comfy sofa and chairs in nice room.
Skip to content