Pathfinder Deferred Charge Scheme
Since June 2017 Open has been commissioned by the Office of Police Crime Commissioner (OPCC) to provide a specialist service to women who are participating in the Devon and Cornwall Police ‘Pathfinder Deferred Charge Scheme’. The OPCC has recognised that women entering the criminal justice system need a distinct service to meet their specific needs.
The Pathfinder Deferred Charge Scheme is described by the OPCC as ‘a new initiative aimed at challenging, and changing, the behaviour of first time offenders’. The scheme means that those eligible may be able to avoid a police record if they sign up and fully comply with the conditions.
Following an assessment by the woman’s Pathfinder Keyworker she can be referred into Open. Open will then provide a gender specific support package delivered as individual sessions based on the woman’s needs. Open’s support is based on a trauma informed approach and can include working with the woman on a range of issues including: Accommodation, Finance Benefit and Debt, Domestic Abuse and or Sexual Violence. The Open worker will liaise regularly with the Pathfinder Keyworker regarding progress.
Engagement with ‘Pathfinder’ is voluntary however failure to attend or comply with the terms of the contract can result in the woman being taken to court.
Open is delighted to be involved in this initiative with the OPCC, which will potentially result in fewer women being criminalised, whilst recognising that these women are often victims as well as offenders.