Good practice: voluntary organisations working in Criminal Justice System

Barefoot Research and Evaluation have been commissioned by the Northern Rock Foundation to produce a series of case studies which will demonstrate the impact of voluntary organisations working within the Criminal Justice System in the North East.

This action research piece of work has been developed to run alongside the delivery of the Clinks and VONNE joint project to strengthen and add value to our work.

This case study focuses on Developing Initiatives for Support in the Community (DISC), and the work it carries out with young offenders, those at-risk of offending and other vulnerable groups. Their approach is based on an intervention which involves all family members and has been shown to be very effective at helping families and particularly young people address their underlying problems, improve outcomes and reduce offending.

This case study focuses on a Black, Asian, Minority Ethnic (BAME) women's centre in Newcastle, that supports survivors of domestic abuse. They are one of only a few centres in the UK providing a holistic service to women from a range of ethnicities. In this case study, we see that BAME women are some of the most vulnerable victims of abuse and violence and at the same time they experience multiple barriers to services which are meant to help and support them. The Angelou Centre provides a range of culturally appropriate services, which are informed by the barriers of race and gender that BAME women face in accessing services.

This case study focuses on the delivery of an employability project in the North East of England, targeted at offenders who have served in the Armed Forces. The project, called the Veterans Mentoring Project, is delivered by an educational voluntary sector organisation. The host organisation, the Northern Learning Trust, is well known for delivering community-based learning to groups who have been excluded from education, but less well known for their work with offenders. They have created a peer-to-peer model in which ex-service personnel, both paid and volunteers, provide services to other ex-service personnel who have been to prison.

This case study looks at the work of Nepacs, who provides support to children and families of prisoners. Nepacs believes that families hold the key to reducing reoffending and esuring effective resettlement. This case study focuses on two projects; Support at Courts and Integrated Family Support.

This case study focuses on the work of Gallery Youth, an organisation located in rural Northumberland in the North East of England and the role that it plays in reducing local crime and disorder and improving community cohesion. Gallery Youth provides both a service open to all young people in the locality of Alnwick, and also targeted support, in response to particular issues or needs.

Helix Arts is a participatory arts organisation based in Newcastle upon Tyne that works with a range of socially excluded groups, including (ex) offenders.

This case study focuses on two of their programmes: The Choices Project that worked with young offenders who are subject to Intensive Surveillance and Supervision Programme (ISSP), and The Restorative Justice Project that worked with young
offenders who had restorative justice elements to their sentences.

Open Gate is a small charity that works out of HMP Low Newton in County Durham providing support to women leaving prison and resettling into the local authority areas of the North East. This case study demonstrates the impact they have on vulnerable women’s lives, helping them re-enter society and get their lives back on track.

Get Moving provides a housing and support service in Hartlepool. It has a total of 10 properties in Hartlepool, a mixture of houses and flats, which they use for transitional supported accommodation for clients. As well as housing people in their own properties, they also offer a floating support service to people in the community, helping them to find and maintain accommodation.

There is prostitution in all areas of the North East, some is visible on street prostitution but most is hidden, taking place behind closed doors. Many of those involved are the most excluded and vulnerable women in our communities, many of whom are disengaged with support services. This case study focuses on two charities that provide support services to women involved in prostitution. The objective of these projects is to improve the safety of women whilst they are still involved in prostitution, and ultimately to help them exit prostitution entirely.

Barnardo’s Domestic Violence Protection Project is highly effective at addressing abusive behaviour; stopping the perpetrators and their offending behaviour. There is a high demand for the service from both statutory services and self-referrals from male perpetrators of domestic violence. This demonstrates that there is a need, alongside the fact that Police reports of domestic violence incidents run in to the thousands. It is time for perpetrator programmes to become a widespread and easily accessible option in approaches to address domestic abuse in our local communities.