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Women defendants going through Bristol Magistrates’ Court: the findings of a four month pilot of a women’s advocacy worker.

By Helen Bell, Anita Gukhool, Sarah Hean and Jerry Warr


This pilot came out of the SW courts mental health assessment and advice pilot who, working with the Court Assessment and Referral Service (CARS) provided by Avon and Wiltshire Partnership Trust (AWP) identified that, of the women defendants who had previous contact with a mental health provider, 30% refused to see the mental health professionals at the court.\ud A partnership was formed between AWP and Missing Link (a women’s organisation established in 1982 to provide a range of housing and support to women who have either acute or long term mental health needs), funded by Offender Health South West. Missing Link seconded a worker for four months to approach women defendants in Bristol Magistrates’ court with a view to establishing what practical needs they had and what, if anything, could be done to help them with those needs. The worker was supported by the CARS team and the pilot evaluated by Bournemouth University.\ud \ud In this workshop we will offer information about:\ud \ud • The information that led to the rational for the pilot.\ud • The quantitative and qualitative data about the women seen, their needs and outcomes. \ud • The importance of partnerships with the third sector when working with women offenders. \ud • Some research outcomes of an evaluation of this project.\ud \ud After, these brief introductions, the workshop leaders will work together with participants to identify commonalities and similarities with their own models of and views of working with women and share good practice.\ud \ud We anticipate this work shop will be of interest to those professionals working with offenders with mental health needs wishing to learn lessons to improve current liaison services or implement new liaison services in their region.\u

Topics: med
Publisher: NACRO
Year: 2009
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