Our Minerva Community service, in partnership with the Ministry of Justice’s (HMPPS) and the National Probation Services (NPS), delivers holistic support to women in contact with the criminal justice system.

Advance’s specialist advocates work in partnership with 11 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.

The Minerva Keyworker will work in partnership with the woman herself, the relevant Offender Manager and other statutory and voluntary agencies to develop a support plan tailored to her needs, and co-ordinate appropriate community interventions, to enable the woman to access the support she needs.

Minerva Advocates will provide:
  • one-to-one support in the community to women on probation supervision across 6 South England counties, including one-to-one advocacy, support and advice across all 9 pathways to women released from custody and to women who are sentenced to community disposal.
  • In-reach prison support for women with accommodation and social inclusion needs is provided via regular drop-in sessions in prisons to help manage the risks and needs up to release, as well as establish rapport with the women and continue to engage with them upon release.
  • through the gate support is provided, including meeting women on release, and supporting them back into the community. This includes helping prisoners to find accommodation, as well as employment, training, or education, and help with managing their finances, benefits and debt.

Advance are aware that women caught in the Criminal Justice System often have multiple and often complex needs.

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

The Minerva Community Service Partnership, led by Advance, includes:

Groups and workshops

Women can access group-based support programmes in order to empower them to move forward with their lives and to challenge the stigma associated with women affected by the Criminal Justice System.

Calendar of Activities

As a result of the Coronavirus outbreak and lockdown, we have had to adapt the way we work, to ensure help continues to be available and women remain connected during this time. We are therefore working with our partners to adapt their existing group support offer to a virtual one. We are aiming for virtual sessions to be conducted in a safe, respectful and confidential way and hope that we can create an accessible service for women, both for the current circumstances and potentially the future. Please continue to visit this page for an updated calendar of the virtual support we have on offer.