28 August 2017
E rere ana ki te pae hou: Women's Strategy
Corrections’ new Women’s Strategy was launched at Christchurch Women’s Prison on Monday 28 August, setting out a new approach for the way we manage women.
National Commissioner Rachel Leota said there is a growing need to do more for women offenders. “Since 2002 the female prison population has increased by more than 150%. The number of women serving community-based sentences has increased 120% from 2004-2015.” Rachel adds that “We must act now to stop that increase in its tracks. We have to look at new and innovative approaches specifically for women.”
Women make up 7% of New Zealand’s prison population and 20% of offenders managed in the community. Women offenders have different experiences, their needs are different and they respond to a different style of management than male offenders.
Research has found that:
- Women’s pathways to offending often differ from men’s in key ways, meaning our responses must also differ
- Relationships going wrong, lack of emotional and practical support and economic pressures shaped by their experiences are frequent triggers to women’s offending
- They way women see themselves, their future prospects and their ability to respond to problems plays a key role their ability to stop offending
- Three-quarters of women in prison have suffered family violence, rape and/or sexual assault.
- 52% of women in prison have post-traumatic stress disorder (compared to 22% of male prisoners)
- 68% of women in prison have been a victim of family violence
- Three-quarters of women in prison have diagnosed mental health problems (compared with 61% of men).
The new strategy focuses on making our treatment and management more women-specific to help address issues such as trauma and victimisation, mental health issues, unhealthy relationships, parenting difficulty and stress and financial pressures. There will be a focus on giving women the treatment, encouragement, counselling, skills and support they need to shape better futures for themselves, their children and their families.