Institute for Crime and Justice Policy Research, Victim Support and Centre for Justice Innovation

Project Objectives

The Bell Foundation has launched a research project to answer the following questions through an innovative and original study:

  • How does having limited English language skills affect individuals’ willingness to report crime?
  • How do language barriers impact individuals’ experiences of the criminal justice system – whether as victims, witnesses, suspects, defendants or convicted offenders?

The research, beginning in April 2018 which combines a review of national policy and data with close examination of organisational practices and individual experiences in two contrasting locations. The aims of the project are to gain insight into the experiences of people with English as an additional language who are victims of crime or are otherwise in contact with the criminal justice system, and to support improvements to the way that these individuals are dealt with by the justice system.

Project Partners

The Institute for Crime and Justice Policy Research (ICPR): an institute which carries out academically-grounded, policy-oriented research on the justice system, and is based at Birkbeck, University of London.

Victim Support: an independent charity supporting people affected by crime or traumatic events, and the largest provider of victims’ services in England and Wales.

The Centre for Justice Innovation: a research and development charity which seeks to put practitioners and evidence at the heart of justice reform.

About the Project

The project’s research activities include:

  • Interviews with individuals who have English as an additional language and have been crime victims and/or otherwise in contact with the criminal justice system
  • Interviews with practitioners from a range of criminal justice agencies and from services for migrants, refugees and asylum-seekers
  • National survey of Victim Support staff and volunteers, and analysis of Victim Support case management data
  • Policy review and interviews with national stakeholders

The project outputs will include a research report, a policy briefing, and toolkits setting out guidance and resources to help practitioners identify and meet English language-related needs within the criminal justice system.