GamCare is prepared to embark on a significant initiative aimed at strengthening problem gambling recovery support through the UK’s criminal justice systems.
The charity has been awarded two years of funds to develop its ‘Nationwide Programme,’ under which it aims to expand care and support pathways available throughout the UK Criminal Justice System (CJS).
Gambling harms and crime
GamCare has long argued that the correlation between gambling harms and crime is underappreciated, and that CJS employees and criminals need more resources to help them rehabilitate.
The latest programme builds on a two-year research project sponsored by the Hertfordshire Police and Crime Commissioner to implement gambling damage screening at key points in the criminal justice system, assisting in the identification of the appropriate methods for providing assistance to those affected.
Anna Hemmings, CEO at GamCare explained: “As outlined in our recent submission to the Howard League Commission on Crime and Problem Gambling, our work focuses on a ‘whole systems’ approach – with initiatives to screen people at arrest and the early stages of the CJS, and responding to needs at various stages in their journey, be it through police, prison, or probation services as well as the courts.”
Howard league collaboration
For several years, GamCare has collaborated with the Howard League, a penal rehabilitation organisation, to encourage UK judges and other relevant jurisdictions to recognise excessive gambling as a mental health condition that can lead to criminal behaviour.
GamCare’s role in the CJS has earned it recognition as one of the most effective charities and organisations addressing the complexities that individuals who are involved in the criminal justice system face (CJS).
The UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) has endorsed GamCare’s latest initiative, which will aid in the expansion of the National Strategy to Reduce Gambling Harms’ targets by a dedicated network focusing on gambling and the criminal justice system.
Welcomed collaborative approach
Tim Miller, Executive Director for the Gambling Commission said: “We welcome the extension of this significant project, including the collaborative approach GamCare has taken to support a wide range of organisations working in the criminal justice sector.
“Together, these programmes of work have the opportunity to make a positive contribution to reducing harms as part of the National Strategy. We are pleased to be able to approve the funding, which was agreed through regulatory settlements.”