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Bids welcome to help expand scheme for female offenders

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Partner organisations across the county are being invited to play their part in helping deliver a vital scheme aimed at helping women who find themselves in police custody to turn their lives around.

The Women Offenders of Norfolk Diversion, Engagement and Rehabilitation Project, known as WONDER, was launched as a year-long pilot in February this year thanks to funding from the Ministry of Justice (MOJ) and Police and Crime Commissioner Lorne Green.

The PCC teamed up with Julian Support, the Sue Lambert Trust and the Magdalene Group to deliver this initial 12-month pilot project, offering help and support to female detainees released from police custody facilities in Wymondham and King’s Lynn, assessing their personal circumstances and developing tailored support plans.

Since then, the MOJ has granted further funds to allow the addition of more services across the county over the next three years and is inviting bids from agencies wanting to deliver the expansion of the project – known as WONDER+.

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.

Inviting bids PCC Lorne 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 and it is vital they are able to access help and support to address the root causes and consequences of what they’re doing.

“If we’re going to reduce offending, then we have to understand what makes people vulnerable to committing crime. Unemployment, money worries, drug or alcohol dependency, sex-working, mental health issues, domestic and sexual abuse – any one, or combination of these, could be a contributory factor.”

WONDER+ will work across the whole criminal justice system, engaging with women receiving non-custodial sentences or out of court disposals, those involved in community resolutions, and also those attending county, magistrates and family courts.

The project will also link in with Peterborough Prison, which receives all female prisoners from Norfolk, as well as the county’s health services to ensure a county-wide whole system approach.

Lorne added: “Vulnerable women are becoming entrenched in offending behaviour, impacting on their children, families and the wider community, and it is vital they are able to access the help and support they need to address the causes and consequences of what they’re doing.”

The new tender opportunity is being announced in partnership with the Norfolk and Suffolk Community Rehabilitation Company.

Any organisation interested in working with the OPCCN to deliver the WONDER+ project should click here to complete the ‘supplier registration’ form and access the documentation under reference 27736.  Deadline for applications is Friday 30 June 2017.