Sussex Police have a new approach to supporting women offenders

A new approach to addressing the complex needs of vulnerable and disadvantaged women encountering the criminal justice system will soon be launching in Sussex.

The ‘Whole Systems Approach’ (WSA) model to supporting women offenders is based on assessing their needs at the very first point they enter the criminal justice system (on arrest), then referring women to local support services that can deal with their often complex vulnerabilities, such as domestic abuse, drug and alcohol misuse, mental health issues, and other barriers to education, training and employment.

This pioneering project follows national recommendations (the Bradley Report, 2009 and the Corston Report, 2007), which called for a gender-specific, trauma-informed approach to supporting women affected by the criminal justice system.

The project will roll out in March 2018 and will be evaluated closely to ensure we have an operating model that keeps each woman at the heart of the process. This new approach focuses on preventing further offending and promoting a safer community by offering appropriate support at an early stage to ensure each individual has the opportunity to make amends. In the longer term we also hope the project will work with vulnerable low risk male offenders so that we can build on the equality of service provision.

This week a new report, Spotlight on Violence Against Women and Girls, was published by the Revolving Doors Agency. It showcases the innovative work by PCCs across the country to tackle this serious issue. The ground breaking ‘Drive Project’ in Sussex has been highlighted within the report for its response to domestic abuse. This project aims to reduce the number of child and adult victims by tackling perpetrator behaviour; the root cause of the cycle of domestic abuse. To find out more and to read the full report please click here.


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