To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, with reference to Women need women who support them, published by Advance on 22 November 2021, what recent assessment he has made of the (a) costs and (b) potential merits of holistic community support provided by women’s centres.
The Female Offender Strategy recognises the importance of early intervention and initiatives that divert women away from the criminal justice system and into support services that address their vulnerabilities and the underlying causes of offending. It also acknowledges that women’s services such as women’s centres play a key role in providing holistic support to vulnerable and complex needs women in or at risk of contact with the criminal justice system.
The Ministry of Justice’s Data Lab report “Women’s Centres throughout England” (May 2015) https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/427388/womens-centres-report.pdf found that women’s centres can help to reduce reoffending by between 1 and 9 percentage points. Since publication of the Strategy, the Ministry of Justice has invested £9.5 million in women’s community sector organisations, including women’s centres.
The cost of support can be difficult to calculate because the type and scope of provision provided by women centres varies widely.