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Criminal Justice

The VSB Foundation

Criminal Justice

by The VSB Foundation

Prior to the establishment of the VSB Foundation VSB had a long-standing partnership with the Pilgrim Trust, since 1982 this partnership has distributed approximately £400,000. In December 2010, a new VSB Foundation- Pilgrim Trust launched a new small grants programme focussing on interventions with women involved in the Criminal Justice system. The purpose was to encourage local community interventions to address some of the underlying causes that contribute to female offending and/or offer practical support to those women caught in the criminal justice system to prevent reoffending. Organisations supported through this programme included,

Women’s Support Network

Prison Fellowship


First Steps women’s Centre

Community Focus learning

East Down Rural Community Network

West Belfast Parent Youth Support group

Lisburn & Windsor Women’s Centres

Tinderbox Theatre Company

Quaker Service

Volunteer Now Enterprises

Women’s Information NI


Belfast Unemployed Centre

ESC Understanding Through Film

Groundwork NI

Positive Steps Training

The VSB Foundation also produced a short video telling the story of a young women in custody Blue for a Boy – here

In 2016, to conclude this programme of small grants, the VSB Foundation commissioned research on “The Current Landscape of Support for Women Who Offend in Northern Ireland”.

“The overriding context of the report ………. is that for many women it is their vulnerabilities that lead to a crisis that results in their entry into the criminal justice system and for some ultimately to prison. The disproportionate impact of incarceration on women who offend is well documented as is the significant number of women in the criminal justice system who are or have been the victims of crime.”

The research report is available here.

In 2011 The Owers Review of Prisons laid out 40 recommendations for improvement of prisons. Many of the recommendations called for those working in statutory justice system to work with more closely with the Third Sector. It was recognised that the complex nature of the needs of prisoners and their families were multidimensional and complex and that a holistic response required a joined-up approach across agencies and sectors. It was within this context in 2012 that the VSB Foundation asked the Interaction Institute for Social Change to facilitate an engagement process with key players in the Third Sector to discuss

how they could avail of the improved policy environment for their work. Subsequently the VSB Foundation in late 2105 asked IISC to undertake an assessment the progress which has been made since 2012 by the various organisations who were involved in the original initiative. The assessment was to focus on the actions agreed at the 24th September 2012 Workshop. Additional areas of interest were the degree to which collaboration has taken place, and what impact changes in the funding environment have had on the ability of the organisations involved to respond to the recommendations contained in the 2011 Prison Service Review.

The latest report is available here

Articles & Blog

on Criminal Justice

Support for Women who Offend in Northern Ireland – A research report.
23 May 08:11 pm

A research report carried out by Kate Campbell that explores the current landscape of statutory and community...

Quaker Storytelling Project
3 Mar 09:15 pm

A Poem written by one of the women participating in the Storytelling project. Behind those closed doors...

Journeys with Convictions Programme
17 Feb 08:56 pm

Funding has been allocated to the Belfast Unemployed Resource Centre (BURC) to support NIACRO in delivering ‘Journey’s...

Prison Arts Foundation’s ‘Inspiring Change’ project at the MAC
13 Feb 09:01 pm

The Pilgrim Trust have contributed funding towards the continued work of the Prison Arts Foundation. PAF work...

Volunteers Supporting Women involved in the Criminal Justice System
24 Jan 08:04 pm

Minister thanks Volunteers who support women in the justice system Justice Minister David Ford MLA, has launched...

Criminal Inspection Report 2013 – Voluntary Sector
28 Mar 07:37 pm

VCS still making positive contribution to criminal justice system Chief Inspector Brendan McGuigan has welcomed the positive...

Once in a Generation
25 Mar 08:02 pm

The key purpose of the Workshop was to enable key Third Sector organisations to share ideas on...

VSB Foundation -Pilgrim Trust Awards
3 Feb 09:11 pm

Community Interventions with Women Offenders Awards made by VSB Foundation/Pilgrim Trust The following organisations have received an...

Blue for a Boy
22 Mar 08:18 pm

Blue for a Boy. A short film. Blue for a Boy is a short film based on...

Women and the Criminal Justice System
10 Mar 09:00 pm

A Pilgrim Trust and VSB Small Grants Programme for Northern Ireland   The Pilgrim Trust – VSB...

Community Interventions with Women Offenders Report
8 Mar 09:09 pm

Report on Pilgrim Trust-VSB Small Grants Programme 2012 launched in the Long Gallery Stormont by Anna Lo...

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