Female inmates who have themselves been victims of violent crime will have access to specialist counselling as part of an initiative designed to reduce the rate of reoffending in NSW. Following a successful pilot at Dillwynia and Wellington correctional centres, the Approved Counselling Service will be available at all nine NSW correctional centres containing females by mid-2018. It will provide 22 hours of specialist counselling to address issues relating to being a victim of a violent crime. The service has previously only been available to people in the community.

    Minister for Corrections David Elliott said there is evidence that addressing issues related to victimisation and unaddressed trauma can help to reduce reoffending. “These inmates are offenders and have been jailed as punishment for their crimes, and it is our role to try and rehabilitate them, to protect the community from further crimes,” Mr Elliott said. The Approved Counselling Service will be available at Dillwynia, Emu Plains, Silverwater Women’s, Wellington, Cessnock, Bolwarra Transitional Centre, Mary Wade, Mid North Coast and Broken Hill correctional centres.

    Of the 235 inmates who participated in the pilot, 159 participants were female, 76 were male and 87 identified as Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander. The vast majority were victims of either domestic violence or sexual assault, and many were victims of multiple crimes. The pilot, developed by Corrective Services NSW and Victims Services, found counselling helped address emotional regulation, prior trauma, and helped inmates to work through events rather than repress them. The service will be available to male inmates in late 2018.