There is evidence to suggest that female offenders have additional, and usually multiple, needs compared to males.

One particular need is mental health, with research finding higher rates of learning difficulties, personality disorder, substance misuse and self-harm amongst female inmates. There is also greater prevalence of mental health problems such as depression, anxiety and psychosis, and mental health problems can be a contributory factor in offending behaviours.

While several research studies support the effectiveness of psychological interventions for female offenders, and the potential positive impact of women’s centres, there is little understanding of the current provision of such interventions.

This study aims to provide a comprehensive overview to identify any areas for development in services, and to increase awareness of the needs of women who access them. It also explores the extent to which existing mental health provision within services is evaluated.