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Implementing services for women offenders and those ‘at risk’ of offending: action research with Together Women

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posted on 2013-09-11, 08:51 authored by Carol Hedderman, Emma Palmer, Clive Hollin, Gunby Gunby, Nikki Shelton, Melody Askari
Together Women began operating in late 2006/early 2007 from centres in the North West and Yorkshire & Humberside. It was set up to address the needs of female offenders to prevent re-offending, the needs of women deemed at risk of offending and to divert both groups from prosecution and custody, using a tailored approach to meet individual needs. This report details an action research study undertaken to provide real-time feedback on the set-up and initial delivery of TW; to assess the extent and quality of current data collection and identify possible improvements to this; and to gather views of service users and other stakeholders regarding their initial experiences of TW. Methodology included interviews with service users, a range of TW staff, TW referrers, sentencers and other local stakeholders; an audit of cases entered onto the service user database used in Yorkshire & Humberside, and observations of TW in action. Findings cover three key areas: firstly, how and why contact with TW leads to change (via a ‘model of change’ which remains to be clarified), secondly, the early perspectives of stakeholders and service users regarding the value of TW and finally, how interventions and change should be monitored and measured. The report concluded that approximately a year since TW was set-up, issues remained about making the model of change explicit, securing wider service user engagement, persuading local courts to used TW in place of custody, and recording and measuring change. Despite these issues, however, the research found TW to have been swiftly and efficiently implemented, with enthusiastic, committed and well-managed staff. Stakeholders have welcomed it, describing it as filling an important gap in local provision, and service users who maintained contact with TW value the assistance and access it has enabled them to have to other local services.


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/Organisation/COLLEGE OF SOCIAL SCIENCE/Department of Criminology


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Ministry of Justice



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Ministry of Justice Research Series;12/08



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