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The role and value of volunteers in the Criminal Justice System: a European study

This report, from the Justice Involving Volunteers in Europe (JIVE) project, presents the findings of a European-wide survey on the current contribution and value of volunteers in the Criminal Justice Systems of Europe.

The study covers various areas of interest, such as how organisations select, train and engage volunteers; how volunteers and paid employees work side by side; how organisations structure civil engagement work carried out by volunteers; and where the lines blur between non governmental organisations and wider social service provision.

Findings

Overall, the results of the study indicate that organisations which involve volunteers are moving towards further improving their standards, through the use of recruitment strategies, standardisation and quality management. However, to truly modernise volunteering, it must lose its image of being an activity which people just do for personal, altruistic reasons, and move towards becoming a key social networking activity grounded in a commitment to civic engagement. Volunteering should be seen as an integral part of the rehabilitation process, not as simply an add-on or free resource.

Recommendations

Recommendations for supporting the vital role that volunteers play in criminal justice are:

  1. A European mandate to promote improved integration of justice with voluntary sector services.
     
  2. A European standard of accredited training to improve the response to complex target groups.
     
  3. Improve recruitment, training and support practices to reflect a demanding voluntary role.
     
  4. Volunteer programmes should be adequately resourced and volunteers’ value recognised.
     
  5. European investment in a culture of volunteering.
     
  6. European recognition of diversity.
     
  7. Reward, recognise, and motivate.
     
  8. Improve the quality of volunteer programme evaluation throughout Europe.
     
  9. Support volunteering to build healthy, resilient communities.
     
  10. Improve volunteer provision in Eastern European member states.

Download the report here

This project has the financial support of the Criminal Justice Programme of the European Union. The contents of this webpage are the sole responsibility of the project partners, above, and can in no way be taken to reflect the views of the European Commission.

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