On 8 November, Coventry’s Criminal Justice Liaison and Diversion Service won the Howard League Community Award in the ‘Liaison and Diversion’ Category.
The team were also commended for their integrated working with partner agencies at the Awards.The service is provided by Coventry and Warwickshire Partnership NHS Trust and comprises trained, specialist mental health staff.
The Howard League believes that projects which help to keep people out of the criminal justice system, by providing alternative, proportionate, effective and targeted interventions will reduce the risk of reoffending. These annual awards celebrate best practice in diversionary work and champion work in the community that challenges and changes people for the better – be it with children; women; mental health programmes or restorative justice.
This year, the Awards were presented at the national conference in London on 8 November by Gerry Marshall, Trustee of the Howard League for Penal Reform and Chair of the Awards judging panel. The competition was open to statutory agencies and voluntary organisations that are developing diversionary schemes.
Coventry’s Criminal Justice Liaison and Diversion Service identify people who have mental health, learning disability, substance misuse or other vulnerabilities when they first come into contact with the criminal justice system as suspects, defendants or offenders. They complete assessments and refer and support onto suitable services. This service covers Coventry police custody, probation and courts and also receives external referrals from probation and police voluntary attendees. The team work to improve understanding and acceptance of vulnerabilities, in particular mental health, for the lay professional; they are the link between healthcare and police/probation.
Fiona Rose, Team Lead for the Criminal Justice Liaison and Diversion Service, said: “The award is in recognition for all the hard work being undertaken on a daily basis by the Liaison and Diversion team in Coventry.
“The dedicated team have already helped many people in ensuring that their care and support needs are adequately met, maintaining professionalism, being non-judgemental and compassionate at all times, sometimes in difficult circumstances. It is therefore fantastic to receive the award which we hope will also raise awareness of the need for Liaison and Diversion services and just how innovative and proactive we are as a team in care delivery”.
For more information about the awards, visit: http://howardleague.org/community-awards