A safe, just and equal world for women

Advance opens its new centre in Essex to support women in contact with the criminal justice system

October 24, 2023
Leading women’s charity Advance has opened a new Women’s Centre in Chelmsford, to provide support to women in the community. The centre is a safe space in the community for women to come together and share, inspire and empower each other.

Advance is the leading charity supporting over 2700 women in contact with the criminal justice system each year, nationally. In addition to Essex, Advance also works in partnership with 12 local and national women’s service providers and statutory services in Hampshire, Thames Valley, Kent, 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.”

Shannon Wells, Advance’s Service Manager for Hertfordshire and Essex, said:
“Having a dedicated Women’s Centre in Chelmsford means that women not only are supported by Advance’s specialist support workers, but also they are able to engage with their probation officers who are only a short walk away.

The Centre is a safe, welcoming confidential space for the women we support to come together and get the vital help they need in the community in one place, from emotional and mental health support, to joining wellbeing groups and activities, and also practical help with finances, employment, housing and essentials such as clothing.”

Advance currently supports around 200 women each year in the Hertfordshire and Essex counties.

For more information, please contact Tracie Couper, Press Officer at Advance,

E: press@advancecharity.org.uk
T: 0743 2700 287

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
group of people watching a talk.
Skip to content