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The Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on the Justice Voluntary Sector

Skelton, Faye; Haddow, Christine



Third sector organisations (TSOs) have a long history of complementing work done by statutory agencies in criminal justice, to the extent that that TSOs no longer sit outside the criminal justice system and have instead become integral to its functioning (Hucklesby & Corcoran, 2016). While the justice voluntary sector was already facing a number of economic and political challenges prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, as it unfolded and statutory organisations were unable to operate as they usually would, TSOs became crucial in the response. Early assumptions anticipated that the pandemic would act as a ‘leveller’ but instead it has further exacerbated pre-existing vulnerabilities, increasing the marginalisation of justice involved populations (Smithson & Axon, 2022) and in turn the challenge faced by TSOs in providing support. This paper shares findings from 2 qualitative interview based studies with people working in the justice voluntary section in Scotland, which sought to ensure that crucial learning from this period of rapid change was captured. Key themes including agility, vulnerability, resilience, relationships and trust, and wellbeing will be explored to evidence the impact of the third sector. The paper will conclude by presenting insights for research, policy and practice as we emerge from the pandemic.

Presentation Conference Type Conference Paper (unpublished)
Conference Name British Society of Criminology Annual Conference
Start Date Jun 30, 2022
Deposit Date Jul 22, 2022
Public URL