Changing the law to protect victims of DV who offend
Pregnant prisoners – Napo’s motion to Women’s TUC

Keep on fighting sisters

The Conference this year (4 to 6 March) was an emotive experience with regard to topics that relate to the themes of disadvantaged and victimised women, existing without the basic essentials of life. Homelessness for women increases the risk of physical, sexual, financial and psychological trauma. Those who leave prison, often with mental health issues, unresolved childhood experiences, abusive partners and a lack of hope for the future, does nothing to engender a positive outlook for the future.

Specifically, for those who work within the criminal justice  system,  there were various issues raised which will resonate within Napo members’ type of work.  For  example,  there was a motion that Napo seconded, which was unanimously carried with regard to pregnant women in prison, whose biggest fear is the birth of  their child. This is due to evidence  that such a situation will inevitably severely traumatise the mother with the knowledge that 50%  of  children  born in those circumstances are likely to be removed from the mothers within days of birth. Children will grow up with the knowledge that such a  situation  was the start of their life and may consider “what may have been” if they had been able to remain with their birth mother. Criminality does  not  automatically make women poor mothers, but with the right type of support and guidance, both within the prison and then post release, will enhance the opportunity for the those who have been dealt a deck of cards that is not so positive in their earlier life.

Poverty was an ongoing theme, absence of essential needs such as sanitary products, poor nutrition, absence of appropriate medical care. Environmentally, the risk to women travelling on public  transport, health in the workplace and absence of policies that protect women during times in their lives where change in body and age related conditions will have a detrimental impact upon their daily tasks.  I could go on and on as  the Conference was over 3 days. It is enough to say, however, that in the 21st Century, it is apparent that there is a mass of evidence that women’s issues continue to be making a u-turn whilst returning to Victorian and barbaric treatment to those individuals who live the lives  identified  above.  Enough  I say. We can all do our bit to complain, campaign, fight and educate those we work alongside in order to engender a celebration of equality that is necessary in order to improve women’s basic needs in the workplace or in society itself. Carry on fighting sisters to make sure we are heard!

Angela Tompson


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