Victim Contact Work and the Probation Service: A Study of Service Delivery and Impact

by Adam Crawford and Jill Enterkin

This book reports upon the findings of an 18 month study of victim contact work in two Probation Services analysing the manner in which the Victim's Charter requirements to contact victims of serious crimes, both post-sentence and pre-release, have been realised in practice. It explores the value and impact of the Victim's Charter requirements upon the Probation Service. This research is the first major study of this important but controversial service. The study, funded by the Nuffield Foundation, draws upon interviews with victims, service providers, probation officers and service users.

Victim contact work represents a major shift in emphasis within probation, with as yet uncertain consequences. The Probation Services in the two research sites, Northumbria and West Yorkshire, both had developed leading reputations in this field and the research sought to learn lessons from 'best practice'.

The research findings highlight the lack of clarity as to government policy's intentions, its uncertain and, so far, ill-considered implications, its contradictory logics and its hesitant and differential implementation.

The report highlights the positive manner in which the two Probation Services which were the focus of this study have responded to the challenges presented by the Victim's Charter requirements. It concludes that victims of serious crime can benefit significantly from good quality and well delivered victim contact work. In particular, the research highlights the importance of:

The book includes extensive research findings and sets out a number of important conclusions and recommendations.

This book will be of considerable interest to all levels of probation staff, particularly those involved in victim contact work, victim support workers, criminal justice practitioners, academics and criminological researchers, as well as anyone interested in the manner in which criminal justice services are provided for victims of serious crime.

CONTENTS (pp. 102 + iv) - PRICE £10.00 + £2.00 p&p

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Published by the Centre for Criminal Justice Studies, University of Leeds

ISBN 0-95-110323-7