The Howard League, a penal reform organisation, has named GamCare as its ‘organisation of the year’ after acknowledging the charity’s work in helping authorities to recognise problem gambling as a mental disorder that can drive its victims towards crime.
Hosting its annual ‘Community Awards’, the Howard League recognised the UK’s most effective charities and social projects which tackle the complexities that affect people caught up in the criminal justice system (CJS).
In its award statement, the Howard League noted GamCare’s work with counselling partners Breakeven and The Beacon Trust which is aimed at expanding awareness of problem gambling disorders, thereby broadening the understanding of problem gambling among CJS stakeholders.
“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,” The Howard League stated, praising GamCare’s collaborative approach.
Most recently, the treatment support charity began a dedicated programme of work to raise awareness and promote cross-sector knowledge of gambling disorders and its criminal consequences.
The Howard League praised GamCare’s focus on tackling complex criminality issues through a ‘whole system approach’, having previously undertaken an initiative to screen people at their initial arrest phase as well as documenting all stages of problem gamblers’ interactions within the CJS.
In addition, GamCare has opened its knowledge resources on problem gambling to all CJS employees and management, expanding its training to staff on identifying gambling harms and addictive behaviours.
GamCare’s work in the area of gambling criminality has led to the charity publishing its paper with the Howard League’s current Commission on Crime and Problem Gambling.
“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,” Gamcare said in its statement.