I am today updating Parliament on further progress made in implementing the Government’s response to the Corston Report on women with particular vulnerabilities in the criminal justice system.
In my statement to this house in December, Official Report, 10 December 2008, column 59WS, I confirmed that while significant progress had been made since the Government’s response was published in December 2007, we remain determined to do much more to divert vulnerable women who are not serious or dangerous offenders from custody.
I am therefore pleased to announce that the Ministry of Justice will provide £15.6 million of new funding over two years, to invest in the provision of additional services in the community for women offenders and women at risk of offending. The new funds will be directed towards building capacity of specialist provision for women in the community and developing bail support services. We propose that some of the funding will be used to invest in existing third sector providers, enabling them to work with courts, police, probation and other statutory agencies to provide support and services to vulnerable women in the criminal justice system.
I have asked the cross-departmental Criminal Justice Women’s Strategy Unit to lead on this new phase of capacity building and to report progress to the Ministerial Sub-Group on implementation of the Government’s response to Corston.
If we are successfully to protect the public from crime then we also need to tackle the underlying causes of crime and break cycles of disadvantage. My announcement today reaffirms the Government’s commitment to do more to ensure that there is early and effective provision for vulnerable women in the community and our continued commitment to the wider Corston agenda.