Women and Mentoring
Women and Mentoring (WAM) is a unique, early intervention mentoring program that supports women charged with a criminal offence by matching them with supportive female mentors.
Women and Mentoring equip women with the skills to navigate the complex courts system, minimise the negative effects of contact with the justice system, access services to deal with the underlying causes of criminality, and empower them for better outcomes.
Funds raised: $30,000
Tricia was raising funds for Women and Mentoring to start receiving referrals to support criminalised women in Frankston. Frankston has the second highest number of female offenders in the state of Victoria, and rates of family violence, mental illness, alcohol and drug concerns, and Child Protection notifications that are greater than the Victorian average.
It’s reported that it costs roughly $100,000 to house a woman in prison for a year, but the true cost is much higher. When you factor in that for a year this woman is without her family, and her children are without their mother. Of the women who offend, 80% of them have been or are victims of abuse, 75% experience substance abuse disorders and 90% experience mental disorders - meaning a year in prison is another year these core issues aren’t being addressed.
Women and Mentoring (WAM) recognise every woman who is referred to them has her own story and needs. The mentoring is built around these needs and the volunteer mentors work with each woman individually, on issues they identify as important. These issues might be help navigating the courts, attending appointments or just a chat over coffee. Since the event, WAM has moved to Frankston and have received community support for the program with volunteers outnumbering referrals for the service.
“Jade* is 30 years of age with 3 children, aged 13, 11 and 3; all three children are in the care of their maternal grandmother. Jade is currently couch-surfing or sleeping in a car in the front of her mother’s house, so she is able to see her children daily. It was identified that Jade would benefit from a mentoring relationship to provide positive social support, motivation, and assistance to stay on track as she has been clean from drug use for over 8 months. … Jade was matched to Sue* in early January and we have received positive feedback about Jade’s engagement with her mentor from other workers and Court. Jade and Sue sat down recently to their goal-setting meeting with WAM Coordinator Sarah.
One of Jade’s goals is to once again be the primary carer for her youngest child; she believes her older children are settled with their grandmother and she wouldn’t like to disrupt them. Ideally she would like to reside in her mother’s home and live together as a family. … With Sue’s encouragement, Jade is becoming more motivated to get her license and take her kids out when she is allowed. Jade and Sue are developing a trusting relationship, and Jade is starting to ask questions about Sue’s life – her beliefs, life experiences, what she’s studying and her work – and also opening up about her own life. Sue has told us “[Jade] feels much more confident now she has me … I told her she was stuck with me for a year which she was happy about”. Sue tells us that Jade is starting to take more care about her presentation and hygiene, and making an effort to be ready on time to meet with Sue. Sue has expressed concerns however that Jade’s sister keeps inviting her around; Jade feels sorry for her as she’s lonely, but she knows her sister is a current drug-user. Recently Sue helped Jade with practice questions to obtain her White Card and Learner’s Permit. Jade would like to find employment to keep her busy and moving forward with her life.” - Tricia Ciampa, Women and Mentoring