A safe, just and equal world for women

Advance opens its new Women’s Centre in Kent to support women in contact with the criminal justice system

March 7, 2023
Leading women’s charity Advance is pleased to open its new centre today in Canterbury, 7th March 2023, to provide support to women in the community. The Advance Women’s Centre is a safe space in the community for women to come together and share, inspire and empower each other.

Advance’s Women’s Centre in Canterbury is the eighth centre to be opened since the charity began 25 years ago, in addition to local hubs to support women. Advance is the largest charity supporting over 2700 women in contact with the criminal justice system each year nationally. In addition to Kent, Advance also works in partnership with 12 local and national women’s service providers and statutory services in Hampshire, Thames Valley, Essex, Hertfordshire, Bedfordshire and Greater London.

Niki Scordi, CEO of Advance, 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 license, 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.”
Advance’s Kent Service Manager, Amy D, said:
“Women tell us when they come to us their choices are limited, and our support is helps to make big changes in the lives of the women. We hope that there will be systemic change in the way women and young girls who experience trauma can access support before their choices become limited and their self-worth hits rock bottom. The work we do is very much needed and the challenges we face builds a greater sense of achievement when you see how our approach and support positively impacts the lives of the women and their communities.”

We know that prison does not work for most women: it destabilises their and their families’ lives by ripping them away from their children and out of their communities.

Advance’s Centres are women-only safe spaces where women can join in, be themselves; somewhere they can share, learn, laugh, and heal.



For all press enquiries, please contact:

Emma Walker, Press Officer at Advance

E: press@advancecharity.org.uk

M: 07950 780 114

Notes to editors
  • Advance offers women holistic, consistent support, meeting their individual needs over a longer period, empowering them to break the cycle of re-offending and preventing the breakdown of families. Women can refer themselves to our services, as well as be referred by the police, probation, statutory agencies, and other voluntary organisations.
  • Advance’s specialist advocates work in partnership with 12 local and national women’s service providers, alongside statutory services to provide services within women’s communities across the 6 regions of Hampshire, Kent, Thames Valley, Essex, Hertfordshire, and Bedfordshire.
  • Through our woman-centred approach, we aim to prevent the cycle of re-offending, tackling issues such as lack of consistent housing and homelessness, domestic abuse and sexual violence, mental health, emotional well-being, parenting and family relationships, education training and employment, finance, benefits, and debt. Read more about Advance’s Minerva model here.
  • 53% of women in prison report having experienced emotional, physical, or sexual abuse as a child compared to 22% of men.
  • 72% of women who entered prison in 2020 have committed a non-violent offence.
  • 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.
  • 50% of women, compared to 22% of men, have reported that they offended to support someone else’s drug use.
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
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