Scheme to help Norfolk female offenders change their lives to be expanded

PUBLISHED: 16:16 19 January 2018 | UPDATED: 16:16 19 January 2018

Norfolk Police and Crime Commisssioner Lorne Green.

Norfolk Police and Crime Commisssioner Lorne Green. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Archant Norfolk 2016

A scheme to help female offenders turn their lives around is set to be rolled out across the county.

The Women Offenders of Norfolk Diversion, Engagement and Rehabilitation Project (WONDER) was launched as a year-long pilot last February to support women released from police custody facilities in Wymondham and King’s Lynn.

Now, funding has been secured from the county’s police and crime commissioner (PCC) Lorne Green and the Ministry of Justice (MOJ) to build on the service over the next three years.

The PCC will be working alongside the St Giles Trust, in collaboration with City Reach and Future Projects, to deliver the WONDER+ programme, which will, over the three years, cost £524,000.

Mr Green said: “The female offenders coming into contact with our criminal justice system often have complex needs, and can be some of the most vulnerable and disadvantaged women in society.

“The latest MOJ funding will not only see the initiative grow geographically, to cover all rural and urban areas of Norfolk, but also beyond Norfolk’s custody facilities which is fantastic.

“It is vital women are able to access help and support to address the root causes and consequences of what they’re doing and, together, these three organisations have a whole raft of knowledge, experience and advice to offer them.”

Norfolk was one of just four areas in the country to receive the original funding from the MOJ.

The women who took part in the original scheme were those who received a conditional caution or those who voluntarily referred themselves onto the project.

Now, the scheme will work across the whole criminal justice system and all women taking part will meet with a project link worker to develop a plan.
Rob Owen, chief executive of the St Giles Trust, said: “We are delighted to be working in Norfolk offering vulnerable women in the criminal justice system the care and support they need to turn their lives around.

“We have many of years of experience in doing this type of work and are pleased to be sharing this by working in partnership with Future Projects and City Reach.”

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