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Evaluation of Sixteen Women's Community Justice Services in Scotland

Evaluation of Sixteen Women's Community Justice Services in Scotland

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

ISBN: 9781785445866

This document presents the findings of an evaluation of sixteen women’s community justice services in Scotland. The evaluation was conducted by the Institute for Research and Innovation in Social Services (IRISS) during 2014-15.

Executive Summary

As part of the Scottish Government’s commitment to improving opportunities for women offenders, and in line with the recommendations of the Commission on Women Offenders 2012, the Scottish Government funded sixteen women’s community justice services (WCJS) from 2013-15. This evaluation aimed to examine how WCJS work in practice, and to what extent they contributed towards positive outcomes (associated with reduced reoffending) for women who offend.

In summary, the evaluation found that WCJS provide an enhanced service alternative to traditional approaches to supervising women in the community. WCJS appear to be most effective in helping women to stabilise their lives and build their confidence and motivation to change. Less progress was observed in long term outcomes such as ‘purposeful activities’ (e.g. employment, volunteering and training). Overall, however, the findings provide a strong rationale for the WCJS approach, not as a single prescribed model, but rather as locally defined services that adopt a holistic, gender-specific, and flexible approach to supporting women who offend.