International Women's Day: Ending Injustice for Girls and Young Women in the Criminal Justice System

Wednesday 10 March 2021

Clare Wade KC

Audrey Cherryl Mogan

Cyntoia Brown-Long

Kate Paradine

Dr Laura Janes

Leigh-Anne Rodriguez

Pippa Goodfellow

Sandra Paul

This event is brought to you by the Garden Court Chambers Youth Justice & Child Rights Team.

#ChooseToChallenge  #IWD2021

Date: Wednesday 10 March 2021
Time: 5pm-7pm
Areas of Law: Youth Justice & Child Rights , Criminal Defence

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Girls and young women are a significant minority in the criminal justice system and yet often suffer worse outcomes compared to their male peers. There are too many examples where girls and young women are more likely to receive custodial sentences and longer sentences than their male equivalents. Injustices pepper their journey through a criminal justice system which is primarily focused on boys and men. 

By showcasing pockets of good practice and providing stark examples of where the system needs to change, we hope this event will start to improve the provision for girls and young women in the justice system. 

We will examine and discuss:

  • Child sexual exploitation and grooming of young women and girls 
  • Overcriminalisation of young women and girls in residential care
  • Sentencing of young women and girls: why are they more likely to receive custodial sentences
  • The experience of young women and girls from Black and minority groups 
  • A journey through the custodial estate - girls turning 18 and entering adult prisons




Clare Wade QC, Garden Court Chambers (Chair)
Clare is a highly experienced and successful appellate advocate.  She has been instructed in some of the most high profile appeals of the last few years.  She represented Sally Challen in her out of time appeal against her conviction for the murder of her husband. The case was ground breaking; the first time the Court of Appeal had considered coercive control in the context of the partial defences to murder. The case changed the way in which domestic abuse is viewed in the Criminal Justice system. It was widely reported and the appellate process was the subject of a 90 minute BBC2 documentary. Clare is also representing Farieissia Martin in her forthcoming appeal against her murder conviction.

Clare is a specialist on women and the criminal justice system. She was on the Prison Reform Trust Advisory Group panel in relation to amendments to the Domestic Abuse Bill. She has worked on Law Commission projects on the reform of the law of homicide. She is on the advisory committee for research commissioned by the Centre for Women's Justice into women who kill. Before taking silk she often acted as leading junior. Clare is ranked at Tier 1 and was shortlisted for Crime Silk of the Year 2020 by the Legal 500. Clare recently won 'Barrister of the Year' at the Women in Law Awards 2020.

Audrey Cherryl-Mogan, Barrister, Garden Court Chambers
Audrey Cherryl Mogan is a specialist criminal defence and public law barrister with experience in defending individuals charged with serious violence, the supply and production of drugs and firearms offences. She has particular expertise in cases involving victims of trafficking and representing vulnerable children and young people.

Audrey has in-depth knowledge of European and international human rights law gained through ten years in the NGO sector, and is a committee member of Young Legal Aid Lawyers and Board member of the Black Protest Legal Support group which was formed in the wake of the ‘Black Lives Matter’ (‘BLM’) movement. Audrey has successfully run a campaign to challenge the nationality requirement in criminal courts, and was recently appointed as a Griffins-Barrow Cadbury Trust Fellow, in joint partnership with Cambridge University, where she will be undertaking research on trafficking and modern day slavery.

Cyntoia Brown-Long, Advocate for Criminal Justice Reform & Author of Free Cyntoia
Cyntoia Brown-Long is an author, speaker, and advocate for criminal justice reform and victims of trafficking. Cyntoia was trafficked during her early teenage years and, at the age of 16, was arrested for killing a man who solicited her for sex. She was tried as an adult and was sentenced to life in prison without the chance of parole for 51 years. Her trafficker was never arrested. In prison, Cyntoia’s life took a dramatic turn when the prison education principal took her under her wing. 

Cyntoia’s journey was a roller coaster ride that included a documentary about her life, a profound encounter with God, an unlikely romance, and, eventually, a commuted sentence by Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam.  She received unprecedented national and international support from social media advocates, pastors, and celebrities and was released from prison in Nashville, TN, on August 7, 2019. Her memoir, Free Cyntoia: My Search for Redemption in the American Prison System (Atria Books), written while in prison, documents her early years and the 15 years she was incarcerated and takes readers on a coming-of-age spiritual journey.  Set against the shocking backdrop of a life behind bars and the injustice of sentencing sex-trafficked juveniles as adults, Cyntoia struggled to overcome a legacy of birth-family addiction and a lifetime of being ostracized and abandoned by society. She is a 2020 Nominee for the NCAAP Literary Image Award and has been featured as a guest columnist for the Washington Post.

Cyntoia hopes her story will not only inspire others but also shine a light on the injustice that people still face on a daily basis, especially the injustice to women and children in American prisons.  She, with her husband, Jaime, is the founder of the Foundation for Justice, Freedom, and Mercy. In January of 2020 the Vera Institute of Justice recognized Cyntoia as one of the Best of Justice Reform honorees. 

Kate Paradine, Chief Executive, Women In Prison
Kate has led various change initiatives in the public and charity sectors on issues including domestic abuse, child abuse, harmful substance use and mental ill health, including publishing national policy and strategy documents. She led the project to transfer staff and services from the National Policing Improvement Agency to the College of Policing and was previously National Quality Lead at CRI and lecturer in the Faculty of Law, University of Southampton (including leading the Law and Discrimination course). Kate has been Chair of trustees for a group of women’s refuges and trustee for the national theatre company Clean Break. Kate joined WIP as CEO in 2015.

Dr Laura Janes, Legal Director, The Howard League for Penal Reform
Laura Janes was admitted as a solicitor in 2006 and has oversight of the Howard League legal service for people under 21 in prison. She has a professional doctorate in Youth Justice. Laura has developed an expertise in advising and representing children and young people in penal detention in relation to prison law, public law and criminal appeal matters. Laura is a committee member of the Association of Prison Lawyers and the Legal Aid Practitioners' Group. She is also a visiting fellow at the London South Bank University and Chair of Legal Action Group. In 2019, Laura was awarded Solicitor of the Year by the First 100 years’ Inspirational Women in Law Awards.

Leigh-Anne Rodriguez, Senior Practitioner, Abianda (Rescue & Response - County Lines project)
Leigh-Anne Rodriguez is Abianda’s Senior Practitioner on Rescue and Response - a service for young Londoners affected by county lines, delivered by Abianda, St Giles Trust, and Safer London. She manages a team deliver one-to-one services across all 32 London boroughs, with a focus on rights-based advocacy and multi-agency support for young women facing extreme exploitation and complex vulnerabilities. 

Leigh-Anne has nine years’ experience of working as a youth worker with marginalised young people. She is a specialist in working around street culture; youth and gang violence; and girls and young women affected by all forms of violence. She is also a highly experienced trainer, having delivered seminars and courses across the UK. With her lived experience and professional expertise, Leigh-Anne brings a wealth of understanding and knowledge around how to best to support young women facing youth violence, and how we can bring about the systems change to ensure their needs are met.

Pippa Goodfellow, Director of the Alliance for Youth Justice
Pippa is Director of the Alliance for Youth Justice (AYJ), which brings together over 70 non-profit organisations, advocating for and with children to drive positive change in youth justice in England and Wales. She has over 15 years’ experience in policy, research and communications, with a particular focus on collaborative and partnership working in the field of youth justice. Pippa is currently undertaking a part-time Professional Doctorate titled ‘An exploration of factors influencing the recent levels of incarceration of girls in England and Wales’ and recently completed a sponsored Griffins Society research fellowship ‘Outnumbered, locked up and overlooked? The use of penal custody for girls in England & Wales.’

Pippa was previously a Senior Lecturer in Youth Justice at Nottingham Trent University and managed youth justice policy and programmes at Nacro, the social justice charity. Her experience includes a Home Office national programme aimed at tackling serious youth violence, intelligence analysis for the Metropolitan Police, coordinating partnerships in a key London local authority, parliamentary research and management consultancy. Pippa is also a Trustee for the National Association of Youth Justice and a guest lecturer at the University of Bedfordshire. 

Sandra Paul, Partner, Kingsley Napley
Sandra is a partner in Kingsley Napley’s Criminal Litigation department. She has a wealth of experience in criminal and related litigation. She conducts cases concerning sexual offences, murder, assault, the possession or use of firearms and the possession of drugs. The majority of her work concerns defending allegations of sexual misconduct. She works with clients in the UK and abroad, including allegations following the #MeToo campaign.

She has a particular passion and aptitude for working with children and young adults, navigating them safely through the youth justice system. She sits on the Advisory Board of the Youth Justice Legal Centre. She is Chair of the JUSTICE Working Group on Tackling Racial Injustice: Children and Youth Justice System which recently published a report. She is a founding and active member of Women in Criminal Law and sits on the Race Equality Committee.

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