Improving magistrates’ awareness of vulnerable women in the criminal justice system: a pilot

Matthew Adam Callender, Mike Scanlan, Van Rooyen Suzy, Mignon French

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Most criminal offences in the UK are committed by men which means that women make up a small proportion of offenders dealt with in the criminal justice system. In total, women who offend comprise around 5% of the custodial population and 15% of offenders in the community. The issues women in the criminal justice system face are significantly different to those of the male population with women more often having distinct vulnerabilities. For instance, women in prison are more likely to have a mental health problem and to have experienced abuse as a child or an adult. Therefore, addressing the sentencing of this population requires a specific approach.
This article describes a pilot study that aimed to improve magistrates’ awareness of vulnerable women in the criminal justice system. The Vulnerable Person Focus group delivered a series of ‘Focus on Women’ awareness sessions to over 100 court staff at four courts in Northamptonshire. Following the training, the participants reported improved confidence when sentencing women offenders; that the training had influenced them to seek information about the women’s health and social care circumstances before sentencing; and that the training had made them more likely to consider alternatives to custodial sentences.
Original languageEnglish
JournalMental Health Practice
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 27 Nov 2018

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justice
offender
women's issues
correctional institution
vulnerability
abuse
confidence
mental health
offense
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title = "Improving magistrates’ awareness of vulnerable women in the criminal justice system: a pilot",
abstract = "Most criminal offences in the UK are committed by men which means that women make up a small proportion of offenders dealt with in the criminal justice system. In total, women who offend comprise around 5{\%} of the custodial population and 15{\%} of offenders in the community. The issues women in the criminal justice system face are significantly different to those of the male population with women more often having distinct vulnerabilities. For instance, women in prison are more likely to have a mental health problem and to have experienced abuse as a child or an adult. Therefore, addressing the sentencing of this population requires a specific approach.This article describes a pilot study that aimed to improve magistrates’ awareness of vulnerable women in the criminal justice system. The Vulnerable Person Focus group delivered a series of ‘Focus on Women’ awareness sessions to over 100 court staff at four courts in Northamptonshire. Following the training, the participants reported improved confidence when sentencing women offenders; that the training had influenced them to seek information about the women’s health and social care circumstances before sentencing; and that the training had made them more likely to consider alternatives to custodial sentences.",
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Improving magistrates’ awareness of vulnerable women in the criminal justice system: a pilot. / Callender, Matthew Adam; Scanlan, Mike; Suzy, Van Rooyen; French, Mignon.

In: Mental Health Practice, 27.11.2018.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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