Diverting Women from Offending

Just Women’ is a project that works with women who have come into contact with Criminal Justice Services or are at risk of offending.

Many of the women we work with are referred by the Police following their arrest or by Probation Services if they are serving a community sentence or have been released on licence from prison. We also deliver our holistic support service to women whose circumstances place them at risk of offending or re-offending.

Just Women Conditional Caution Project

What it is: It focuses on early intervention and diversion, through an Out of Court Disposal which aims to not only reduce women’s re-offending but to divert women from the courts, probation and ultimately prison.

What we do: We act as the single point of contact for all women served with a conditional caution in Leicestershire. We assertively engage with women referred to us and work with them to look at their needs and strengths and develop a support plan. We refer women with substance misuse problems directly in to drug and alcohol services and we provide up to 6 one-to-one support sessions to enable the individual to complete the caution thereby avoiding being sent to court and ending up with a criminal conviction.

What else?: Women who engage in this service also have the opportunity to be referred into our wider holistic services where they can receive longer term support and access group programmes and counselling. 

Partners: Developed in partnership with Leicestershire Police and the Office for the Police and Crime Commissioner.

Just Women Community Rehabilitation

What it is: This Community Rehabilitation part of the Just Women project works with women who are serving community orders or have been released from prison on licence. Attendance at the project and can be used to meet a court mandated Rehabilitation Activity Requirement.

What we do: We deliver a suite of interventions to women across Leicestershire which tackle the most common themes for women who offend, including:

  • A 10 week “change programme” which aims to improve women’s resilience, confidence and self-esteem. The programme includes sessions on problem solving, communication skills, resolving conflict, coping with challenges, personal boundaries, goal setting and making changes
  • Specific programmes which address emotional management, parenting and healthy relationships

How we work: Programmes can be delivered to a group of women which allows opportunity for them to receive peer support. We can also work on a flexible, one-to-one basis with women need it.

What else?: Women attending programmes also have the option to be considered for more intensive support provided through our wider holistic services.

Partners: Commissioned by Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire, Leicestershire and Rutland Community Rehabilitation Company. The project is part of a much wider network of commissioned Women’s Services Providers which spans the two regions of East and West Midlands.

Just Women Community Outreach

What it is: A full package of intensive wraparound support to women who are at risk of offending or reoffending.

Why this is a vital core service: We set it up in 2014 in response to women’s frustrations as to why they had to offend to get the support they so desperately needed. Many of the problems experienced by the women attending our services on probation orders were the result of trauma and violence, very often stemming from early childhood experiences. More than 70% of the women we were working with had experienced domestic abuse and/or sexual violence, experiences of childhood sexual abuse were common as were severe neglect, emotional abuse and physical violence. Almost half of the women had children who were subjected to safeguarding with many having children removed for adoption. The project was set up to engage women at an earlier stage to prevent them either becoming involved in the criminal justice system or relapsing into criminal behaviour.

Referrals: Women can be referred by the Police and Probation to complement the interventions offered by the Conditional Caution and Rehabilitation Activity Requirement as well as being referred from relevant specialist service providers in the fields of Children and Adults Social Care, mental health, drugs and alcohol and domestic and sexual violence. 

Partners: The project is funded through a grant from the Big Lottery Fund.