As restrictions are tightened again in English prisons, including the suspension of social visits, Birth Companions and 22 other charities and academics have publicly written to the Secretary of State for Justice Robert Buckland calling on the government to:
If so, Clinks and Birth Companions would love to hear from you as part of our latest research project A window of opportunity: understanding the experiences and needs of pregnant women and new mothers in contact with the criminal justice system (CJS) in the community.
While we all continue to grapple with the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic it is now time to look beyond a crisis response to the work that should be done as services evolve again. That's why we've developed a new position statement setting out our priorities for pregnant women and new mothers facing multiple disadvantage in the coming months.
Birth Companions has developed new guidance for midwives working with women experiencing multiple disadvantage during the COVID-19 pandemic. Created in collaboration with Consultant Midwife Tamsin Bicknell, this resource draws on recent research to offer insights into women’s needs, and key considerations for their maternity care in these challenging times.
We are deeply concerned, though not surprised, by the data reported by the Guardian today (22/11/19), showing a year on year increase in the number of women giving birth while in custody, and that about one in ten of those births take place in cells or during transfer from the prison.
Birth Companions and Birthrights have published a joint report - Holding it all together: Understanding how far the human rights of women facing disadvantage are respected during pregnancy, birth and postnatal care.
The report marks a key milestone in a two-year joint research project funded by Trust for London, to help establish greater understanding of the needs and experiences of women facing severe and multiple disadvantage, and the professionals caring for them.
The collaboration, which combines the rights expertise of Birthrights with Birth Companions’ specialism in multiple disadvantage, sheds vital light on the ways in which maternity and other services such as housing respond to women at this crucial stage in their lives.
Both organisations are now working with a range of key stakeholders to co-produce recommendations in response to the report. We look forward to sharing those in the coming months.