Justice minister appointed as champion for volunteering 03/03/09

Thousands of people who volunteer in the Criminal Justice System are to be given a voice in Government for the first time, with the appointment of a Volunteering Champion, it was announced today.

Justice Minister, Shahid Malik will highlight the work done by Magistrates, Special Constables, volunteers in prisons, Victims Support advisors and the thousands of others who give up their spare time to serve their communities, without being paid.

The appointment comes as part of the government drive to open up the Criminal Justice System to communities.

Encouraging people to get involved as volunteers will give members of the public a better understanding of the justice system, as well as help the justice system be more responsive to local needs.

Justice Minister, and Ministerial Champion for Volunteering, Shahid Malik said: "There are tens of thousands of volunteers in the Criminal Justice System all of whom do a fantastic job in making our communities safer. But all too often they don't get the recognition that they deserve.

"Everyone who volunteers should be commended, but those who choose to work for our communities with victims and offenders so often work out of sight and can be overlooked. I am delighted to be able to speak up for them and highlight the important work they do each and every day."

The appointment comes as Baroness Neuberger publishes her report into Volunteering in the Criminal Justice System and is one of a series of steps being taken to strengthen the role of volunteering across the Criminal Justice System.

The government will also shortly be bringing forward proposals to increase the visibility and take-up of volunteering opportunities in the CJS.

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