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Purpose of WIPAN
To bring about change that improves the well-being and prospects of women and female youth affected by the criminal justice system.
The Women In Prison Advocacy Network (WIPAN) works to raise awareness of and progress the cultural, social, economic and political inequalities that exist for criminalised women and female youth by addressing the policies and practices that sustain these injustices. WIPAN takes a grassroots approach to addressing women's and young women's social justice issues by directly engaging women and female youth post-release. more »

What can WIPAN do for you?

WIPAN helps women who have left prison or are close to being released adjust back into the community. WIPAN matches women being released from prison with volunteer mentors. The WIPAN mentors are women from the community who have been trained by WIPAN and TAFE NSW. The WIPAN Mentoring Program provides women and female youth affected by the criminal justice system with the necessary practical and emotional support to minimise the difficulties faced when transitioning back into the community. The ultimate outcome of the WIPAN Mentoring Program is to empower and assist women to make positive choices and lifestyle changes.

WIPAN's mentoring program works. Our current and past mentees have reported that the program helped them stay out of prison. With gender-responsive social support, recidivism rates can be reduced and the costs to society and the community can be minimised.

The Experiences of WIPAN Mentees and Mentors

This short video shares the stories of women who have participated in the WIPAN mentoring program. We hear from women who have recently exited prison – the mentees, and the women who volunteer their time – the mentors. Hear why the WIPAN mentoring program is so mutually rewarding.
  • Women in NSW are being incarcerated at an unprecedented rate (particularly Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Women), far surpassing that of men.
  • Women in the criminal justice system face unique challenges that are much greater and more complex than those of men.
  • Women in prison experience higher levels of substance abuse; increased rates of infection from blood borne viruses, experience more mental illness and are more likely to inflict self-harm than men.
  • The majority of women prisoners come from deeply disadvantaged backgrounds. Many report having experienced incidence of past childhood and adulthood sexual, emotional and physical abuse.
  • Women prisoners confront unique challenges as the primary carers for their children. As a consequence the emotional, social and economic costs for mothers, children and families can be extensive.
  • Almost two-thirds of women prisoners serve sentences less than 6 months for minor offences, many of which serve lengthy periods on remand whilst awaiting trial, leaving very little opportunity for rehabilitative intervention.