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 Jaclyn Symes MLC 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
Ms Kathryn Daley, Lecturer, RMIT University
Aunty Zeta Thomson, Koori Independent Prison Visitor, Eastern Regional Aboriginal Justice Aadvisory Committee (RAJAC)
Ms Julie Kun, Deputy CEO, Women's Information and REferral Exchance Inc (WIRE)
Ms Anthea Hancocks, CEO, Scanlon Foundation
Ms Serina McDuff - Executive Officer, Federation of Community Legal Centres
Minister's Office representatives
Hon. Gayle Tierney, Minister for Corrections, State Government of Victoria
Mr Chris Owner, Ministerial Adviser, State Government of Victoria