7.8 Prison, Probation Services and Court Diversion Programmes

"Over half the women in prison say they have suffered domestic violence and one in three has experienced sexual abuse."

The Corston Report, Home Office, March 2007

This section will look at the issues facing women offenders and some of the programmes and frameworks developed for addressing their particular needs.


Women’s Safety Workers

The Probation Service also works with the victims and partners of men completing the Probation accredited community DV programmes (Community Domestic Violence Programme and Integrated Domestic Abuse Programme), and also provides a similar service for the accredited prison programme for domestic violence (Healthy Relationships Programme).The Woman Safety Worker (WSW)WSW role is an integral feature of the delivery of domestic violence interventions within the National Probation Service Domestic Abuse strategy as part of the  coordinated community response to domestic violence. It maintains a  focus on the safety of victims whilst intervening with the perpetrator. All 42 Probation Areas either deliver CDVP or IDAP and there are WSW staff assigned within all probation areas.

Women Safety Workers/Officers contact female victims and new partners who may be at risk of men attending these and the prison domestic abuse programme.

The role includes;

  • Safety planning to alleviate immediate and longer term risk
  • Contribution to risk assessment and management and potential contribution to Multi Agency Risk  Assessment Conferences (MARAC) and Multi Agency Arrangements for Public Protection (MAPPA)
  • Signposting resources available in the community and advising on legal and civil sanctions.  
  • Informing ex/current female partners about the programme and the man’s attendance on the  programme