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Submission to Parliament of Victoria Inquiry into Victoria’s criminal justice system

Good Shepherd welcomes the Inquiry into Victoria’s criminal justice system. Good Shepherd delivers family violence and financial counselling programs to women in Victoria’s prisons. Two of the biggest drivers of women’s imprisonment – family violence victimisation and financial disadvantage – are central to our services and mission.

Nearly all imprisoned women have experienced trauma from family, domestic and/or sexual violence. There is a well-established link between this trauma and offending/imprisonment. Financial insecurity, over-indebtedness and poverty also drive women’s initial offending and reoffending.

Our submission makes a range of recommendations, including:

  • Pursue a women’s decarceration strategy and set targets for women’s decarceration.
  • Ensure all women in prison have early and ongoing access to family violence support, including women on remand.
  • Reinvest prison funding in family violence measures, including community-based services for women with complex needs.
  • Improve identification of debt/financial issues on entry into prison.
  • Work with industry to build awareness and understanding of the circumstances of women in prison, and develop a baseline response from creditors for debt relief.

Download the Submission to Parliament of Victoria Inquiry into Victoria’s criminal justice system