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Vital Signs North East: Justice

Our ground-breaking study of the scale, dynamics and needs of the voluntary, community and social enterprise sector in North East England.

Community challenges

Crime and anti-social behaviour are falling across the UK. But public confidence in policing has been dented and there are staffing challenges across the criminal justice system. Levels of offences like knife crime and shoplifting are rising. A backlog of criminal cases is causing undue suffering to both victims and defendants. Overcrowded prisons can’t offer sufficient rehabilitation, and re-offending rates are too high. There are disparities in reducing crime and anti-social behaviour between regions like the South East and North East, and between more affluent and disadvantaged neighbourhoods. Problems like these are mainly for government to solve. But on crime and anti-social behaviour, prevention is better than cure – and that’s where philanthropy can make a significant contribution.

  • National challenges: improving performance of and confidence in the criminal justice system; maintaining long-term downward trend in levels of crime and anti-social behaviour; reducing disparities between regions; supporting victims.
  • North East England challenges: reducing crime and anti-social behaviour in areas where rates are relatively high and/or rising, including violent and knife crime, hate crime, sexual offences, domestic violence and shoplifting; reducing disparities between affluent and poorer areas; high re-offending rates.

Justice indicator North East England South East
Recorded crime per 1000 people (change on prev. year in brackets)
     All (exc. fraud) 109 (+3%) 90.2 (-1%) 77.2 (-1%)
     Violence against the person 34 (+2%) 33.7 (-3%) 30.3 (-3%)
    Sexual offences 3.8 (+3%) 3.1 (-2%) 3 (-2%)
    Robbery and theft 33.4 (+26%) 31 (+19%) 24.1 (+11%)
% serious crimes involving a knife 6 (+8%) 7 (+7%) 5 (-3%)
Domestic abuse per 1000 people 39.1 31 25.6
Hate crimes per 1000 people 2.2 1.9 2.2
 Proportion offenders re-offending (young offenders in brackets) 28.4% (35.2%) 25.4% (32.3%) 23% (32.2%)
 % people experiencing or witnessing anti-social behaviour 44.3 34.5 36.3
 % people who agree police and local council are dealing with anti-social and crimes issues that matter locally 42.5 49 46.8

Justice opportunities

Despite the challenges there are a number of opportunities in North East England via:

  • Devolved institutions and partners can look to address social problems in a ‘joined-up’ way and address root causes of crime and anti-social behaviour.
  • Track-record within public and charitable sectors in reducing crime and anti-social behaviour, supporting victims and helping those in the criminal justice system to address their offending.

The Community Foundation believes philanthropy can have a significant impact on justice in three key areas:

Getting ahead of the problem:

  • providing positive alternatives to young people at risk of becoming involved in crime and anti-social behaviour
  • supporting vulnerable individuals
  • funding areas like family mediation, conflict resolution, online safety and community-building

Supporting victims of crime:

  • specialist civil society organisations working with people affected by hate crime or sexual and domestic violence
  • community organisations providing informal support and which can help resolve local issues.

Helping offenders make a fresh start:

  • activities to enable those leaving the criminal justice system move on to a more positive future, which also prevents more people becoming victims of repeat offences.

Vital Signs Reports

The most recent reports from Vital Signs are here