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  • Writer's pictureClare Jerrom

Funding announced to deter women from criminal activity

Drug, housing and employment support is being offered to thousands more vulnerable women in a bid to deter them from crime.

Government funding of £15 million has been awarded to 40 women’s centres and charities, and four Police and Crime Commissioners to provide or access specialist help to vulnerable women who commit lower-level offences.

These organisations help female offenders to get clean from drugs, move away from abusive relationships, and find employment and stable accommodation which all help deter women from crime and ultimately reduces the £18 billion overall cost of reoffending to the taxpayer.

Prisons and Probation Minister, Damian Hinds, said: "We know that female offenders often turn to crime because of poor mental health or drug abuse so it is absolutely vital we address those underlying issues to stop their offending."

"These community organisations play a key role in our work to cut crime and improve support for some of society’s most vulnerable women," he added.

One third of female offenders have a history of drug abuse and more than three fifths of women have experienced domestic abuse, meaning support to get clean and move away from abusive partners is key to deterring women from crime.

Women committing the most serious crimes will always be sent to prison, but custody should always be a last resort. Tackling the root causes of female offending and providing vulnerable women with early support is a key part of the Government’s Female Offender Strategy to cut crime by women and reduce the number who end up in prison.

Almost £55 million has been invested to tackle female offending since 2018 and new specialist staff have been recruited to support pregnant women and mothers in prison, and charities and community organisations have also received funding to support their work.

Sammy Odoi, managing director of Wipers, said: "Work to support women to get clean from dugs or alcohol, access mental health support and gain employment and stable housing are all key components to breaking the cycle of re-offending."

"Ministers should also consider sustained funding for mentoring schemes for women, especially young or vulnerable women from disadvantaged backgrounds, needing help to move away from crime to ensure these women have a key worker to assist, support and empower them, as well as providing a much needed sounding board when they face difficult situations. Knowing there is someone who 'has your back' provides vulnerable female offenders with immense support and can assist them in keeping on track," concluded Sammy.

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