Underlying Values

The Willow project works with a woman-centred approach which is drawn from the work of Gelsthorpe (2007) and Corston (2007), and their research into women offenders. These are ground-breaking works in relation to the development of an approach that takes into account the societal power dimensions in which women become street sex workers or commit offences.

Women working in street sex work, women imprisoned or in the criminal justice system experience a higher incidence of sexual and domestic abuse, coercion, poverty, unemployment, increased levels of addiction problems and lower educational attainment than non-offending women.

A woman-centred approach is one that acknowledges women's lower status in society; that women are usually the prime care giver for children; and that their needs (and desistance from crime and prostitution) are rooted in social, health and welfare needs.

In Willow this means we:

  • provide a women-only environment to foster safety and a sense of community
  • foster women's empowerment to increase their self-motivation and problem-solving ability
  • use learning styles that are effective for women
  • take a holistic, practical stance to helping women address social problems which may be linked to their offending
  • facilitate links with mainstream services
  • encourage "top ups" or continued support
  • ensure women have supportive mentors after completion of the programme
  • provide practical help with transport and childcare to encourage involvement with programmes

Last Reviewed: 26/07/2011