Press release

Funding boost to services diverting women from a life of crime

£15 million for services that work with women in the justice system.

  • tailored support to help female offenders get their lives back on track
  • part of strategy to reduce number of women committing crimes

Thousands more vulnerable women caught up in crime will benefit from drug, housing and employment support to get their lives back on track thanks to a £15 million government funding boost.

This investment has been awarded to 40 women’s centres and charities, and four Police and Crime Commissioners to provide or access specialist help to those who commit lower-level offences.

These organisations help female offenders to get clean, move away from abusive relationships, and find work and stable accommodation ultimately reducing the £18 billion overall cost of reoffending to the taxpayer.

Successful organisations include:

  • Brighton Women’s Centre, awarded £761,280 to continue their support for vulnerable women through childcare provision, counselling and psychotherapy.
  • The Nelson Trust in the south west of England and Wales, awarded £1,164,915 to continue their work including residential abstinence-based addiction treatment programmes to help women achieve long-lasting recovery.
  • The Together Women Project in Yorkshire and the Humber, awarded £621,309 to continue their work offering one-to-one, trauma-informed support to women serving community sentences.

This support is key to cutting crime as around one-third of female offenders have a history of drug abuse and more than three fifths of women have experienced domestic abuse.

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.

The Minister visited Brighton Women’s Centre on Thursday (25 May 2023) to meet with the staff providing this specialist help and as well as the women being supported.

Lisa Dando, Director at Brighton Women’s Centre said:

I am delighted that we have been awarded funding from the MoJ to support women living with multiple disadvantages to lead happier and fulfilling lives.

Brighton Women’s Centre is committed to supporting women through a trauma informed and holistic model of care to ensure women can move away from the Criminal Justice System. This funding from the MoJ will enable us to specifically target support at preventing women from entering the Criminal Justice System. Ultimately, this will save lives as well as saving the public purse.

John Trolan, CEO at The Nelson Trust, said:

This welcome funding enables us to support women with multiple vulnerabilities many of whom end up in the justice system because of exploitation by others. 58% of women report committing crimes to support the drug habit of others as opposed to 27% of men.

We enable women to develop positive social networks of support leading to lives where they are financially independent, choosing healthy relationships and if they are parents, parenting responsibly.

While women who commit the most serious crimes will always be sent to prison, 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.

Since 2018, almost £55 million has been invested to tackle female offending. 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.

Published 26 May 2023