Liaison and Diversion in court settings
Liaison and diversion services are designed to improve the health and justice outcomes for adults and children who come into contact with the youth and criminal justice systems where a range of complex needs are identified as factors in their offending behaviour.
Delivering against NHS England’s National Liaison and Diversion Operating Model, our liaison and diversion practitioners assess the needs of vulnerable individuals in magistrates’ and Crown courts across London, working closely with a wide range of partners to ensure that these individuals have access to the right health and social care services.
Community Link Workers
Our Criminal Justice Community team consists of Community Link Workers and Peer Supporters. Our CLWs work alongside individuals throughout the criminal justice pathway to help them engage or re-engage with relevant services to tackle things like housing, addictions or debt, as well as their mental wellbeing.
Our Peer Supporters draw on their own experiences of emotional distress and the criminal justice system, to support others overcome similar challenges.
Read more about peer support in our criminal justice services.
Reports and training
A main function of our court work is the preparation of reports to provide the judiciary vital information to help with decisions about bail and remand. This helps to avoid unnecessary prison disposals where bail decisions or a community sentence would be more appropriate, again giving individuals the best chance of breaking the cycle of offending. We also provide mental health awareness training to court colleagues, probation and other frontline criminal justice staff.
“We see many individuals with mental health needs, and the fact that specialists are able to help at court, and having all the information available including Together’s reports, means the court is able to sentence effectively. No one in the courts wants to punish ineffectively, so it is vital that people with mental health issues are given the help and support they need.”
Working with women
In two specific locations, we have dedicated provision for women to ensure that we identify vulnerable women as early as possible. This means we can provide courts with information about their health and social care needs, and refer them to services in the community, including to specialist support. We work closely with local women’s centres and other agencies, including those working with victims of domestic violence and abuse.
“When I came to court, I was at my lowest ebb and had suicidal thoughts. The women’s practitioner changed everything, she made me feel comfortable and safe, I could open up to her. She turned everything around for me, got me help and support. She changed my life.”
“I am still struggling with everything that has happened, but I have so many people helping me now. I have a long way to go but I don’t feel alone any more. I’m so grateful.”
Commissioned by NHS England
Together currently delivers liaison and diversion services across London. In April 2014 and April 2015 respectively, Together was chosen by NHS England as one of the lead delivery partners for phases one and two of the London trial site for Liaison and Diversion (two of 20 trial sites in the initiative led by NHS England to roll out Liaison and Diversion services nationally).
To deliver the services, we partnered with with Barnet, Enfield & Haringey Mental Health Trust, East London NHS Foundation Trust and North East London NHS Foundation Trust (for phase 1) and West London Mental Health NHS Trust, Central and North West London NHS Foundation Trust and Barnet, Enfield and Haringey Mental Health NHS Trust (phase two).
Currently, we are working in partnership with all London NHS Trusts to deliver the London L&D service. The service sees vulnerable people at time of arrest at court settings and follows them through to their journey to the courts, if relevant. We are also supporting the delivery of the trial site in South Yorkshire through a partnership with.
For more information about our Liaison and Diversion provision in London, please contact Rachel Atterbury, our operational lead.