Advance is extending its successful services to women in contact with the criminal justice system outside of London, now also working in Hampshire, Kent, Thames Valley, Essex, Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire.
Niki Scordi, Chief Executive of Advance, said: “From our work with thousands of women each year, we know that prison is not the right place for 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. 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.
“In 2018, the Female Offender Strategy promised to invest in services to support women and this funding shows the Ministry of Justice’s commitment to improving the system for women, which, until now, has failed them.
“Awarding funding to specialist women’s organisations like Advance to deliver holistic, gender-specific, trauma-informed services will be life-changing for so many women and their children across England and Wales.”
What services are being extended?
The charity’s Minerva service reduces re-offending among women by providing them with the specialist wraparound support they need to address the underlying causes including poverty, domestic abuse and mental ill health. From 26 June 2021, Advance’s specialist advocates will work in partnership with twelve local and national women’s service providers, alongside statutory services including Probation, Housing, Health and Children’s Services, to provide services within women’s communities. This approach enables women to be supported in their own homes, keeping their jobs and staying with their families. Working together, Advance and its partners ensure women get the practical and emotional support they need, when they need it, in women-only spaces. As a result, women are safer and gain confidence, self-esteem and life skills.
All women who have been sentenced can be referred to Advance’s Minerva Service. The Minerva services will be offered to 1,487 women in the six new areas in the first full year, in addition to 1,248 women referred in London.
For more information, please contact Molly Horsburgh, Communications Manager at Advance, at Molly.H@advancecharity.org.uk or Niki Scordi, Chief Executive at Advance, at Niki.S@advancecharity.org.uk. Out of office hours, please ring 07947 949 176.
Notes to editors
Advance’s Minerva Service partners outside of London are:
- Aurora New Dawn
- Birth Companions
- Brighton Women’s Centre
- Cambridge Women’s Resource Centre
- Hibiscus Initiatives
- One Small Thing
- Rising Sun Domestic Violence and Abuse service
- Safer Places
- Working Chance
- Advance’s vision is a world in which women and children lead safe, violence-free and equal lives so that they can flourish and actively contribute to society. The charity works with women who experience domestic abuse to be safe and able to choose their lives, and women who have committed crime or are at risk of offending to break the cycle.
- As well as providing direct support over 6000 women and their children each year, Advance works with statutory services, government agencies and other women’s charities to ensure a holistic gendered approach to the issues women face.
- Women can 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 click here.
- For facts and statistics about domestic abuse and women in the criminal justice system, as well as Advance’s work, please click here.