After recognising the charity’s role in encouraging officials to understand problem gambling as a mental illness that can drive its victims into crime, the Howard League, a penal reform group, has named GamCare as its ‘organisation of the year’.
The Howard League, holding its annual Community Awards, honoured the most popular charities and social programmes in the United Kingdom that resolve the complexities that impact people caught up in the criminal justice system (CJS).
In its award statement, the Howard League acknowledged the work of GamCare with therapy partners Breakeven and The Beacon Trust to raise awareness of problem gambling disorders, thus broadening CJS stakeholders’ perception of problem gambling.
Praising GamCare’s collaborative approach, the Howard League stated: “The link between gambling and crime has been established for some time; in fact, it was a former probation worker who founded GamCare after working with young people adversely impacted by gambling.”
Most recently, a dedicated work programme was initiated by the treatment support charity to raise awareness and encourage cross-sectoral understanding of gambling problems and their criminal implications.
The Howard League praised the focus of GamCare on solving complex crime problems through a ‘whole system approach,’ having previously undertaken an effort to screen individuals at their initial arrest point, as well as recording all levels of interactions between problem gamblers within the CJS.
Furthermore, GamCare has opened its information tools to both CJS personnel and management on problem gambling, extending its training to workers on recognising gambling harms and addictive behaviours.
The work of GamCare in the field of gambling crime has contributed to the charity publishing its paper with the new Commission on Crime and Problem Gambling of the Howard League.
In a statement Gamcare said:“This exploratory and developmental work are unique to both the gambling treatment sector and to the CJS. We are grateful to all our partners and other organisations who have joined us in taking action to benefit service users.”