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The Impact of COVID-19 on the Justice Voluntary Sector

Skelton, Faye; Haddow, Christine



Though the Justice Voluntary Sector (JVS) has long supported statutory organisations, recent years have seen the sector becoming enmeshed with the Criminal Justice System and integral to its functioning (Hucklesby & Corcoran, 2016). When COVID-19 lockdowns were implemented voluntary sector organisations (VSOs) had to very quickly adapt to maintain support to existing service users as well as in some cases increase their capacity for support and/or change their support services, in part due to statutory services being unable to operate normally and typically being slower to adapt. Through two qualitative studies we explored the impact of the pandemic on a range of Justice Voluntary Sector organisations and those working within them, from frontline service delivery through to Chief Executives, capturing challenges, the contribution of the sector to the pandemic response, and ensuring that important learning from this period is not lost or forgotten. Through thematic analysis we documented key themes including relationships, collaboration, vulnerability, agility, and wellbeing. Though organisations had faced significant difficulties, all were able to identify ways in which they could increase efficiency or enhance service provision but were also apprehensive about how the cost-of-living crisis would compound existing challenges, in particular resourcing for the sector. Implications for research, practice, and policy will be highlighted.

Presentation Conference Type Conference Paper (unpublished)
Conference Name European Society of Criminology (Eurocrim)
Start Date Sep 6, 2023
End Date Sep 9, 2023
Deposit Date Jan 15, 2024
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