Women who offend team
The Criminal Justice Service Women Who Offend Team was established in September 2012 following the publication of the report from the Scottish Government Commission on Women Offenders in April 2012 which recommended new approaches to the treatment and rehabilitation of women offenders.
The aim of the team is to support women who offend through appropriate interventions to improve their self-esteem, health and well-being, and through this to reduce their re-offending. The areas of support include mental and physical health, drug and alcohol use, women's experience of domestic violence and sexual abuse, and identifying suitable accommodation.
As well as the Social Work staff, the team works in partnership with NHS, Housing and other Council Services, and a range of voluntary organisations including SACRO Women’s Mentoring Service. Partnership support includes a nurse, a tenancy support worker and women mentors who all play an important role in delivering services to women who are subject to community supervision, either through the Court or following a prison sentence.
The Women Who Offend Team provides the same range of services that are available to those working with men. This includes the provision of Criminal Justice Social Work reports, diversion from prosecution, bail supervision, community payback orders, and parole supervision.
In addition, the team works through a multi-agency partnership to provide a holistic approach to women offenders to try to meet what are often complex needs. This is currently being provided through three initiatives:
- WINGS provides a one stop shop approach, allowing women to access a wide range of services, activities and opportunities. There are currently five WINGS initiatives across Fife in Cupar, Methil, Glenrothes, Kirkcaldy and Dunfermline.
- Structured Deferred Sentences were introduced in December 2015 for women only as a further sentencing option for the courts. Women are assessed as high and low tariff. Low tariff women are to be seen twice weekly with one of those contacts being at the WINGS Project. High tariff women are to be seen three times a week, with one of those contacts also at the WINGS Project. Once all needs are addressed or supports are in place, the Court is notified and it is hoped that if women engage with the process, the Court may consider admonition as a final disposal.
- A Supported Accommodation Unit was established in December 2015 as provision for homeless women offenders who have high level needs and lead significantly chaotic lifestyles (such as substance misuse or mental health issues).