Women and criminal justice

How can National Lottery funding support local communities to prevent big issues rather than simply cope with them?

We believe that there is a great value in preventing a problem occurring so in 2017 we will focus resources on early action or preventative approaches in a number of thematic areas.high res corporate logo - pink

Working towards this we have been finding out more about organisations that take a preventative approach .  As part of this learning we have been focusing on three themes, the first of which is women and criminal justice.

There are significant differences between the experience of women and men in prison. Women are more likely to have been imprisoned for non-violent offences. The drivers behind their offending often include relationship breakdown and financial concerns. And women are most likely to be the primary carers of children.

We believe there is an opportunity to help people working across sectors re-focus efforts on more preventative approaches, through collaboration with local communities.

There’s a chance to build on learning from Scottish Government strategies including, the Whole System Approach (WSA) as well as the Community Justice (Scotland) Bill which presents opportunities for local collaboration to reduce offending and re-offending. The Scottish Government has plans to rebuild the women’s prison estate and invest in preventative work.  We also know that there is good practice among the third sector which focuses on more upstream approaches.

We have been talking to a range of organisations involved in criminal justice to explore potential for local collaborative work to prevent women from getting involved, or further involved, with the criminal justice system.  We have asked where there might be alternatives to custodial sentences, new approaches to diversion from prosecution and developing early approaches to address root causes of offending behaviour.  The Big Lottery Fund has a long history of funding services in these areas. We’d now like to look at what we can do to help organisations come together strategically, to change and add value to, or gather evidence and evaluate, the way those services work.

If you would like to share your experiences in this area please do get in touch by commenting below.

We will be telling you more about the other themes we are exploring, healthy weight/health gain and children, young people and families early in the new year.

You can also keep us with the latest developments by following us on twitter @BIGScotland or signing up to our ebulletin.




  1. It would be interesting to hear what the next steps are with regard to this, what timeframe you are working to, and what you envisage will be the result of this R&D work in terms of what the Lottery would plan to do with the findings.

    • Hi Malcolm. We expect to open this funding opportunity in the Spring and will be able to provide more detail at that point. Our plans for evaluation and learning are currently at an early stage.

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