Inspire is a multi-agency partnership lead by BWC supporting women with multiple vulnerabilities at all stages of involvement in the criminal justice system.

Trauma-Informed services for women in the Criminal Justice System across Sussex

We know that women who have most often experienced a lifetime of trauma and abuse can get caught up in the Criminal Justice System. Many of these women have had difficult experiences growing up, when those caring for them have themselves struggled as carers. This sometimes results in women feeling let down by the services and systems in their adult lives which are there to keep them safe.

Many of the women we support have complex needs stemming from poor or no housing, living in poverty, poor mental health, domestic abuse, being substance-affected and without access to services.

Because we understand that so many of the women we support are suffering from trauma because of their experiences, we prioritise listening to them and believing them; this enables us to give them the support they need to regain control over their lives.

“I've appreciated having a listening ear and getting support for things I didn't feel I could do on my own. My finances have greatly improved since having support and I feel more confident in myself."

Service User

Staff and clients work together to support each woman to find the freedom, strength and power to change her life

We know that the Criminal Justice System is in the main set up by and for men, although women with complex needs often get involved in it. We use our extensive experience in getting to the root causes of complex needs to support women going through the Criminal Justice System to access the support they need when they need it. We understand that every woman has strengths and abilities and we help her to build on those strengths and to increase her feelings of self-worth and build up her resilience so she can start to change her future.

Inspire’s women-centred work reduces the frequency of offending (Justice Data Lab, 2017)

The relationship between each woman and her skilled and experienced women’s support worker is at the heart of our approach. This allows each women to build a relationship based on trust, which helps her feel safe.

Because we know that each woman is the expert in her own life, we decide everything together. This gives her the power to recognise her strengths, realise that she has choices, and choose to accept the practical and emotional support she needs. Experience shows that, to last and help her move away from a damaging past, change has to come from a collaboration between the woman and her case worker.

We work in partnership to develop safe, supportive women-only spaces enhancing the number of women who can access support

We know that feeling safe, physically and psychologically, is essential for women who are vulnerable, and that the Criminal Justice System’s standard provision can be very hard for women to deal with. Fighting for social justice and advocating for gender equality, we identify what needs to change. Being able to go to a safe women-only environment where you will be supported is essential for women to start the process of change. Inspire’s work in developing women-only hubs across Sussex ensures women can access many different services.

We know that systems can be complex and fragmented and we walk alongside women helping them to face the things they are going through

90% of service users stated the support they received was ‘hugely significant’ in enabling them to build a positive future.

What’s the difference that makes the difference?

Service users repeatedly tell us that it is the relationship with their worker that has been instrumental in them being able to bring about change in their lives.

Contact details and working hours for Inspire:

Download Inspire leaflet

Download the Inspire leaflet for Professionals

Funded by and working in partnership with:


Our partners include: