Notes from the Residential Women’s Centres draft specification event
Clinks facilitated an event on behalf of the Ministry of Justice to update the voluntary sector working in criminal justice about the plans for the Residential Women’s Centre (RWC) pilots announced in the Female Offender Strategy.
At the event, the Ministry of Justice presented the draft specification for the RWCs and consulted delegates on four key areas:
- Integrating the RWCs with other local services
- Ensuring a trauma-informed environment
- Supporting transition from residing at the RWC to settled, independent accommodation
- Meeting the diverse needs of women.
These notes provide a summary of the feedback from the delegates in response to those issues and has been shared with officials at the Ministry of Justice to inform further development of the RWCs.
In particular, the sector highlighted:
- The importance of co-ordinating with existing services and not duplicating existing provision provided by the voluntary sector. As part of this, delegates stressed the need to consider the capacity of existing services to support the RWCs and the women who will be accessing it as some will need additional funding to do so.
- The impact that being enforced to reside at a RWC can have on creating a trauma-informed environment. Delegates therefore discussed the importance of creating a non-punitive culture, empowering women and taking a proportionate response to compliance.
- Concern about the impact of women residing at the RWCs for at least three months if they already have tenancies. Therefore delegates stressed the importance of engaging with local authorities and private renters as early as possible to address this and when a women enters the RWC to start planning for resettlement from the beginning.
Note: The event also provided an opportunity for delegates to ask officials further questions about the RWC and specification presented. These questions can be found in Annex A along with their written responses from the Ministry of Justice.