What We Do
The Women’s Justice Network (WJN) is a grassroots community organisation committed to advancing the prospects and wellbeing of women and girls affected or at risk of the criminal justice system. WJN systemically advocates to improve the criminal justice system and delivers an evidence-based practical mentoring program which:
⋅ Provides gender-responsive social support, and engages women and girls in the community
⋅ Provides a safe space that is non-stigmatised
⋅ Fosters a positive self-identity enabling every woman and girl to live the life they deserve to
⋅ Supports women and girls vulnerable to reoffending in making choices that positively contribute to the community
That all women and girls affected or at risk of the criminal justice system live free from violence and discrimination, benefit from adequate living standards, are treated with dignity and respect and are empowered to secure and preserve their individual rights.
⋅ Reduce the recidivism rate of women and girls being imprisoned.
⋅ Establish dialogue with women and girls affected by the criminal justice system, government and non-government agencies and other relevant stakeholders.
⋅ Provide evidence based practical mentoring and non-stigmatised support.
⋅ Advocate for systemic change.
⋅ Promote community awareness and education.
Why we need WJN
Women in NSW are being incarcerated at an unprecedented rate, four times that of men. By providing gender-responsive social support, recidivism rates are reduced together with the costs to the community.
Women in the criminal justice system face unique challenges that are much greater and more complex than those of men.
Women in prison demonstrate higher levels of previous victimisation, poorer mental health and serious mental illness, substance misuse; increased rates of infection from blood borne viruses, unemployment and lower educational attainment than men.
Almost all of WJN’s mentees come from deeply disadvantaged backgrounds, and report a history of childhood and adult sexual, emotional or physical abuse.
Almost two-thirds of female prisoners are sentenced for minor offences and serve less than 6–months in custody. Many serve lengthy periods on remand whilst awaiting trial leaving them ineligible for rehabilitative programs.
Approximately 60% of women incarcerated are the primary carers of their children. The emotional, social and economic costs for mothers, children and families can be extensive.