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.Women's Strategy 2017-2021 cover

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.

View Wahine – E rere ana ki te pae hou – Women’s Strategy 2017-2021 PDF, 1585.24 KB.

Wahine – E rere ana ki te pae hou means women rising above the horizon. The initiatives outlined in the strategy will support women rise above their past, be open to new opportunities, and create a better life for themselves and their whānau.