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Campaign for female-only hostel in york backed by MP Hugh Bayley.
A CAMPAIGN to open a hostel for female offenders hoping to turn their lives around has been given the support of York MP Hugh Bayley.
YACRO, which currently runs a hostel and seven shared houses for offenders resettling in the community, wants to open a single-sex hostel for women in order to protect the most vulnerable who can come to them as the victims of domestic violence and sexual assault.
It has secured a property for the hostel through the York Housing Association, but Yacro said it has so far been refused the necessary funding of £66,000 from City of York Council.
However, following a visit to the YACRO hostel in Robinson Court to see the ways in which offenders were turning their lives around, Mr Bayley said he would write to the council urging it to rethink.
Michael Pavlovic, director of YACRO, said: “Women are coming to YACRO with complex issues and they are placed in the environment of all men.
“If they are coming in with a history of domestic violence, they are placed cheek by jowl with people who may be perpetrators of domestic violence... It’s a no-brainer for me.
“The council is paying a lot of lip service to the women’s agenda and supporting women-related schemes. When I offer a really innovative scheme they are saying ‘our budget constraints are such that we cannot commission this type of service’.”
He said single-sex hostels for female offenders were recommended in the Corston Report, in which Baroness Corston examined the rehabilitation of women.
Mr Bayley met two women currently working with Yacro who both spoke passionately to him of the need for a women-only hostel.
Kerry Baldwin, 34, who has successfully completed a Yacro rehabilitation scheme, said: “Some women have gone through domestic violence and a group of women can seem much safer to them.”
Gary Brittain, City of York Council’s commissioning and contracts manager, said: “The council undertook a review of the services that YACRO provide in July and we identified YACRO’s ambition to develop a supported living service.
“We would like to work with them to explore options, but we would need to look for savings from other services to allow us to support any new scheme.”
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