The Women's Correctional Services Advisory Committee (WCSAC) was established by the then Minister for Corrections in 2003 to provide an external source of expert advice on the delivery of correctional services to women prisoners and offenders.
The precursor to the Women's Correctional Services Advisory Committee was the Victorian Women's Prisons Council, which was established in 1953 by Dame Phyllis Frost as a consultative council advocating for female prison reform. The council's voluntary members worked tirelessly to improve prison conditions for women up until its formal cessation in May 2002.
The Women's Correctional Services Advisory Committee is chaired by a nominee of the Minister for Corrections and reports to the Minister for Corrections. Ms Maree Edwards MP is the current chair of the WCSAC Committee. The committee comprises key stakeholders with diverse backgrounds who have considerable working knowledge and experience of the complexities and challenges faced by women offenders.
The committee's terms of reference are to:
- provide advice to the Minister for Corrections on strategic directions and service requirements for women in the Victorian correctional services system
- have input into the development of policy, including research and evaluation that leads to the development of best practice in the delivery of services and programs for women offenders and prisoners
- provide a forum for discussion of ongoing issues that arise in relation to women in the correctional services system
- consider matters referred by the Minister for Corrections.
Chair: Ms Maree Edwards MP, Member for Bendigo West
Dr Kathryn Daley, Associate Professor, RMIT University
Aunty Marion Hansen, Co-Chair, Koori Caucas / Djirra
Ms Julie Kun, CEO, Women's Information and Referral Exchance Inc. (WIRE)
Ms Margaret Augerinos, CEO, Centre for Non-Violence
Ms Serina McDuff, CEO, Federation of Community Legal Centres (Victoria) Inc.
Ms Deb Tsortbaris, CEO, Centre for Excellence in Child and Family Welfare
Ms Jill Prior, Principal Legal Officer, Law and Advocacy Centre for Women
Ms Rita Butera, CEO, Women's Health Victoria
Ms Claire Seppings, Project Coordinator, Deakin University
Minister's Office representatives
Hon. Gayle Tierney, Minister for Corrections, State Government of Victoria