Ministry of Justice
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Joint women's diversionary fund announced

Justice Minister Maria Eagle today announced the creation of a joint fund to divert women away from crime.

The Ministry of Justice and the Corston Independent Funders’ Coalition have established a joint grant fund, each contributing £1 million, to help transform the way women are treated by the criminal justice system.

The Corston Independent Funders’ Coalition is an alliance of charitable trusts and foundations working together to reduce the numbers of non-violent women in prison. The members of the coalition are all grant-makers, with years of experience of working in the criminal justice system.

The Women’s Diversionary Fund will be used to provide grants to third sector organisations to support further growth in community services for women and contribute to building the confidence of courts in alternatives to custody.

The Women’s Diversionary Fund builds on the substantial progress already being made to divert women away from crime. In 2009 the Ministry of Justice announced £15.6 million of new funding over two years to invest in women’s community projects delivered by the third sector and other specialist provision for women in the community. These projects provide services for female offenders who are not a danger to the public, and for women who are at risk of offending.

Maria Eagle MP and Ministerial Champion for Women and Criminal Justice Matters said:

‘This exciting partnership between the Ministry of Justice and the alliance of charitable trusts forming the Coalition represents a commitment on both sides to transform further the way women are treated by the criminal justice system. By working together in this exceptional way we will build on the initiatives already announced.

‘We have already made good progress in taking forward our strategy to divert women from crime. Over the last two years I have ensured there is a specific push to direct resources to stop vulnerable women from becoming trapped in a cycle of crime. Women’s offending is a complex phenomenon which burdens society, damages children and families, and creates misery for the women themselves.’

Georgina Nayler, Director of the Pilgrim Trust, and chair of the grants panel of the Corston Independent Funders’ Coalition, said:

‘The Coalition is delighted to be working with the Ministry of Justice on this ground-breaking initiative. Every year charitable trusts and foundations invest millions of pounds in supporting charities working with offenders – and this experience gives us a real insight into what works to reduce women's offending. Supporting alternatives to custody takes us one step closer to the vision laid out in the Corston Report where community solutions for non-violent women offenders become the norm.’

Notes to editors

  1. For more information please contact the Ministry of Justice Press Office on 020 3334 3536.
  2. Antonia Bance, the press contact for the members of the Corston Independent Funders’ Coalition, can be reached on 07791 792 197. All contact with members of the Coalition should be through the designated press contact.
  3. The Corston Independent Funders' Coalition is an alliance of 20 charitable trusts and foundations seeking to transform how women are treated by the criminal justice system. The Coalition aims to get ongoing political support and sustainable funding for the implementation of the recommendations of the 2007 Corston Report into women with particular vulnerabilities in the criminal justice system.
  4. The Women’s Diversionary Fund follows an announcement in November 2009 of the allocation of £10m funding to third sector providers to divert vulnerable women from custody.
  5. The Women’s Diversionary Fund will be managed by the Corston Independent Funders Coalition. Selected organisations delivering or capable of delivering services in the community to women offenders or those at risk of offending will be invited to apply; there will not be an open applications process. The fund will focus on service development or continuation, filling gaps and further developing services and building organisational and sector capacity.

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