Volunteer Now - News

Skip Navigation

Volunteers Support Women in the Justice System

20 December 2013

Justice Minister David Ford launches report outlining the difference volunteers can make to the lives of women in the justice system.

Report LaunchThe report Potential Impact of Volunteers Supporting Women Involved in the Criminal Justice System was produced by Volunteer Now and draws on interviews with service users, volunteers and key stakeholders.

David Ford said: “I welcome the publication of Volunteer Now’s report on the difference volunteers can make to the lives of women in the criminal justice system. 

“The majority of women in the criminal justice system do not pose a threat to the public, but require varying degrees of assistance and support due to issues they may have with drugs or alcohol misuse, poor mental health or in cases where they have been victims of some form of abuse.

“My Department’s refreshed strategy to reduce offending among women recognises the importance of women receiving the support they need to addresses these complex, often inter-connected issues.

“Quite often this support is provided by volunteers working throughout the criminal justice system - individuals who give of their time and energy to support others in order to make a very positive impact on their community.

”Although today’s report focuses on the impact of the contribution of volunteers on women in the justice system, I would like to also acknowledge the very positive contribution they make in all aspects of our system and indeed across wider society.”

Sandra Adair, Director, Volunteer Now Enterprises Ltd said "The report highlights that volunteering can have a huge impact on both the volunteer and the person/community they are volunteering with. It can be as little as offering a sympathetic ear or a word of encouragement but it can be enough to prevent one person from offending."

Bill Osborne, Chairperson, VSB Foundation who funded the research welcomed the publication of the report and said: “It is timely in the context of the NI Executive’s Volunteering Strategy. Creating a challenging but supportive environment for female offenders requires creative engagement and cooperation to tackle their complex needs and ultimately reduce offending behaviour.

Whilst recognising the valuable contribution volunteers make within this difficult area, the research clearly provides evidence that more can be achieved. It is our hope that we will see some of the recommendations developed further”.

Download Potential Impact of Volunteers Supporting Women Involved in the Criminal Justice System