IfJ has a commitment to raising public awareness regarding the needs of vulnerable people.
In order to raise awareness, we actively engage in collaborative work, joining in discussions and campaigns with other organisations involed in the justice system.
Here is a list of some of the organisations we are currently involved with, alongside a brief description of the collaboration:
IfJ is a member of the Care not Custody coalition, in which organisations and professional bodies in membership have agreed to work together to support the government to keep its ‘Care not Custody’ promise, and also to hold the government accountable for effective delivery. The coalition is well placed to monitor the implementation of liaison and diversion arrangements, offering support for positive steps and raising concerns where they arise.
The Bradley Report presents a comprehensive plan to reduce reoffending and improve public health by ending the revolving door to custody for mentally ill and learning disabled offenders. Following this report, The Prison Reform Trust called on the government to implement Lord Bradley's recommendations without delay.
IfJ attended discussions and supported The Prison Reform Trust (PRT) in campaigning for its uptake by the government.
The National Federation of Women’s Institutes (NFWI) has called consistently for the diversion of people with mental health needs from custody into treatment and care. The WI’s Care not Custody campaign was inspired by the tragic suicide of a young man with schizophrenia in Manchester prison, the son of a WI member. Since then the PRT has worked in partnership with the NFWI to effect change.
The NHS England’s roll out of Liaison and Diversion services is now operating across over 80% of the country. We continue to support this important work, which places clinical staff in police stations and courts to provide assessments and referrals to treatment and support for a range of vulnerable offenders.
IfJ offers trainings to Liaison and Diversion workers and keenly supports this initiative.
IfJ works closely with JUSTICE at the heart of issues that will shape the future legal landscape. JUSTICE promote access to justice, human rights and the rule of law, through research, education and interventions in the courts. They have been at the cutting edge of the debate on legal reform for 60 years and are widely respected for the quality of their analysis.
JUSTICE uses professional and cross-party expertise to form working parties which guide and support particular projects. IfJ contributed to the Mental Health and Fair Trial working party and report. Following this, there has been on going discussion between JUSTICE and IfJ on a number of projects.
Standing Committee of Youth Justice (SCYJ) is an alliance of organisations working to improve the youth justice system in England and Wales. IfJ joined the alliance to contribute and assist SCYJ in pooling expertise and giving an understanding about the role of intermediaries. SCJY addresses issues surrounding children in trouble with the law and advocates a child-focused youth justice system.
IfJ is in communication with Advicenow and we plan to develop links further. Advicenow is an independent website run by Law for Life. It provides accurate, up-to-date information on rights and the law.
They believe that everyone should have access to good quality information in order to help them understand their legal issue or situation, and enable them to deal with it effectively.
Advicenow aim to achieve this by taking on things major tasks:
- bringing together the best internet information on law-related issues and making it available through an internet search.
- producing Action Guides that provide practical guidance on how to deal with law-related issues.
- campaigning to improve the quality of available legal information by stimulating debate about the need for information, and by producing resources and training for those engaged in work.
IfJ was invited by National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC) to join in discussions during and following the publication of ‘Falling Short’, published in 2019 by Joyce Plotnikoff and Richard Woolfson. The report focused on young witness policy and practice in England and Wales. IfJ was able to contribute to the report by giving examples of practice and experience of our work.
Children who are witnesses in court may have lived through trauma and abuse, and their involvement in the criminal justice system can have a big impact on their recovery. Positive experiences can help them move forward, but negative experiences can be damaging.
In 2009, a report was published examining how effectively government policy and practice guidance met the needs of young witnesses in England and Wales (Plotnikoff and Woolfson, 2009).
Ten years later, the researchers gathered views from 272 criminal justice policy makers and practitioners, to find out what has improved and what work still needs to be done.
Falling Short Young Witness Policy Practise
Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) aim to stand up for freedom, compassion and justice. Their work is driven by a simple belief: if everyone gets a fair chance in life, we all thrive.
Their recent Inquiry 'Does the criminal justice system treat disabled people fairly?' investigated what more can be done to identify and meet the needs of vulnerable defendants or accused. IfJ have joined roundtable discussions and participated in interviews and surveys to assist the inquiry by sharing experiences of their work with vulnerable defendants. You can read the full report here.