Crown Prosecution Service addresses PSS conference about a project to help women at risk of offending

12/03/2015

The Liverpool-based charity PSS runs the Turnaround project which offers vulnerable women support and education opportunities to turn their lives around.

The conference at Liverpool Hope University celebrated the achievements of the women that had been helped. The audience also heard from some of the women's children about how their lives had improved.

Lawyer Bernard Byrne leads on Violence Against Women and Girls for Mersey-Cheshire Crown Prosecution Service and joined professionals and the women who'd used the service in a series of talks about what is being done.Bernard Byrne
Bernard Byrne

He said later: "The CPS gets involved with the Turnaround Project mainly around Domestic Abuse cases.

"If a woman is a suspect in a case, she can be diverted from a prosecution by a conditional caution that takes account of the fact that she might be offending because she is in an abusive relationship.

"These cautions can include a requirement to engage with the Turnaround team, to get the help they need to support themselves and their families and to end their criminal behaviour.

"The CPS also links up with Turnaround when women come into the Criminal Justice System as witnesses or victims, again particularly in Domestic Abuse cases.  We know that many of these women mistrust the system and worry that their own previous offences might be used as a tool to discredit them in Court.

"Our role here is to reassure them that they won't be subjected to inappropriate or irrelevant cross examination and then to protect that position in the courtroom.  The Turnaround project has been key in giving women the confidence to participate in the process, to reassure them about what will happen in court and to make sure the system works to protect them and their families from further abuse."