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Supporting the wellbeing of women in the criminal justice system

Staff involved in the day were, from left, Probation Officer Victoria Sherry, Onehunga Community Corrections Service Manager Anna Winn, Area Advisor Māori Tara Hape, Community Work Supervisor Loretta Sullivan and New Lynn Community Corrections Service Manager Angela Allen
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Auckland women on community-based sentences and orders managed by the Department of Corrections have been treated to a day seminar on how to access organisations that support women and their families in the home, community and workplace.

The New Lynn Community Corrections Service hosted the wāhine seminar on March 31, 2021, and more than 20 women from around the Auckland region attended the event.

Help getting into the workforce and information on early childhood education options were among the topics covered.

Focus on confidence and wellbeing

All the sessions focused on how the women could gain confidence and enjoy improved health and wellbeing through knowledge of support available to them from many local organisations.

New Lynn Community Corrections Service Manager Angela Allen organised the day which, she says, was focused on helping women learn more about continued support available to them when they leave Corrections’ care.

A lot of the women simply don’t know what kind of services are available in the community,” she says.

 

“So, we work with partner organisations that can provide ongoing wrap-around assistance to women in the criminal justice system.”

The day was the second organised by the New Lynn Community Corrections Service. The first event was held in 2020 and was inspired by International Women’s Day.

Fashionable crowd favourite returns

Last year’s event included Plunket’s new mothers’ programme. Also present was crowd favourite Dress for Success which donates professional clothes specifically suitable for interviews and the workplace.

This year, these two organisations attended again, along with Well Women and Family Trust and the Breast Cancer Foundation, with talks on screening programmes for cervical, breast and bowel cancers.

There was also a session on child and family nutrition.

Learning more about child and family nutrition was part of the day’s menu.

“Another session on understanding one’s body from a cultural perspective was particularly well-received,” Angela says.

The discussion included advice on how a woman can make herself heard by health professionals if she was concerned by changes she has noticed in her body.

“Everything I learn here, I share with my daughter, who has a new-born, my first grandchild,” says a proud grandmother who was one of the attendees.

A woman who has been struggling with mental health challenges says, “Today was just so uplifting and empowering. Thank you.”

Pampering part of the programme

Pampering wasn’t forgotten with a session on how to make healing balm from the leaves of kawakawa, a New Zealand native herbaceous shrub.

“The women all walked away proud for making something useful and knowing the principles behind it,” Angela says.

“This knowledge could even lead to the creation of a small business.”

Angela says they wanted to ensure the women knew where to find support when they leave Corrections’ care.

Representatives of the Well Women and Family Trust talk female health to attendees

She hopes more seminars can be run in the future, and topics as diverse as money management, trade employment opportunities, CV preparation and what to expect at job interviews, could be included.

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For further information:

Department of Corrections

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