What we do
We make a difference in women’s lives.
Women and Mentoring (WAM) offers a unique, early intervention program that supports women charged with a criminal offence by matching them individually with a supportive female mentor. The volunteer mentors are trained and resourced to provide appropriate support to the program participants, to share their skills and to contribute to the wider community.
WAM began operating in the City of Yarra (in Melbourne) working with the Neighbourhood Justice Centre in 2009, and in 2015 received funding from the Melbourne Women’s Fund to replicate the program in the Sunshine Magistrates Court precinct.
With recent funding from the Victorian Legal Services Board we aim to support over 200 women over the next three years to get their life back on track, navigate the overwhelming criminal justice system, and build their capacity and skills to improve their life outcomes. As such, we now also receive referrals for women presenting at Melbourne, Heidelberg & Broadmeadows Magistrates Courts.
Additional philanthropic support has enabled us to expand the program to Frankston Magistrates Court in 2018.
The program has made a significant positive difference to the participants’ confidence, coping mechanisms and capacity to respond to their legal matters and address the issues that underlie their offending. The vast majority of the participants have avoided a prison sentence and have not re-offended.
The WAM program has always been strongly community-based. We rely on relationships within the community to support the program and for participant referrals.