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Bids welcome to help expand scheme for female offenders

Partner organisations across the county are being invited to play their part in delivering a scheme targeting female offenders and women at risk of entering the criminal justice system.

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.

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, utilising a number of diversion points including interactions through community policing, police custody, district council-based multi-agency early help hubs, victim services, health services and other help and support networks for vulnerable women.

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 tender opportunity is being announced in partnership with the Norfolk and Suffolk Community Rehabilitation Company and Norfolk County Council Public Health.

Any organisation interested in working with the OPCCN to deliver the WONDER project expansion should click here to complete the ‘supplier registration’ form and access the documentation under reference 29437.  Deadline for applications is Friday 24 November 2017.