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The findings of pioneering research exploring social workers’ role supporting vulnerable children and adults during the Northern Ireland conflict was launched yesterday (February 7) in the Ulster Museum, Belfast. The culmination of a two-year study conducted by an international team of academics, Voices of Social Work Through The Troubles, gives a platform to social workers as they recount putting their safety on the line—working behind barricades and amidst bomb-scares—to protect people at risk of abuse and neglect. Carolyn Ewart, National Director of the British Association of Social Workers Northern Ireland, said: “Voices of Social Work Through The Troubles is a vitally important document. It records, for the…

That’s the question being asked by The People’s Accelerator Programme, a free programme focused on developing ideas for social change and innovation in communities across Northern Ireland. The programme, which is seeking new participants for 2019 from across Northern Ireland, offers a wide range of support for anyone aged 18 and over to develop their idea for social change through workshops, mentoring, networking and finally pitching to potential funders and partners. Michael Conlon Picture by Shane O’Neill Photography. Michael Conlon, Head of NI Programmes for the Young Foundation said: “Northern Ireland is facing a wide range of social issues at the moment –…

The largest organisation that distributes money raised for ‘good causes’ through the sale of National Lottery tickets has unveiled a refreshed brand that makes a clearer link between playing the National Lottery and the good causes that benefit.  The Big Lottery Fund has changed its name to The National Lottery Community Fund – a move announced in September last year. We have also unveiled a refreshed brand identity that incorporates The National Lottery’s highly recognisable crossed-fingers. Each year across the UK we invest hundreds of millions of pounds, raised through the sale of National Lottery tickets, in a range of community projects. By aligning…

Book review of Children, Young People and the Press in a Transitioning Society: Faith Gordon By VIEW editor Brian Pelan I first met Faith Gordon in 2016 outside a cafe in south Belfast. At the time she was working at Queen’s University but was interested in expanding her writing portfolio. Faith Gordon I managed to convince Faith to write an article for a VIEW magazine issue which examined the area of prisons and justice. Her piece concentrated on how negative media portrayals of children and young people can result in the creation of a one-sided narrative and how their rights…

https://issuu.com/brianpelanone/docs/view_50_issue By VIEW editor Brian Pelan Angela Davis, the US political activist and academic, said in her book Are Prisons Obsolete: “On the whole, people tend to take prisons for granted. It is difficult to imagine life without them. At the same time, there is reluctance to face the realities hidden within them, a fear of thinking about what happens inside them. Thus, the prison is present in our lives and, at the same time, it is absent from our lives……The most difficult and urgent challenge today is that of creatively exploring new terrains of justice, where the prison no longer…

Leila Montgomery from Belfast Dippy creates an enormous footfall in Belfast – with 100,000 visitors to the Ulster Museum to see Dippy on Tour: A Natural History Adventure exhibition, since opening to the public just over 10 weeks ago at the end of September.  Dippy is the Natural History Museum’s 26-metre-long diplodocus cast and he’s here for his final few weeks before he moves on to the next leg of his UK wide tour.  Dippy on Tour: A Natural History Adventure has been brought about by the Natural History Museum, in partnership with the Garfield Weston Foundation.  At the Ulster Museum until January 6, 2019, admission…

BY KEVIN HIGGINS, HEAD OF POLICY, ADVICE NI Ongoing changes in social security legislation have had a punitive effect on benefits claimants, exacerbating the cycle of poverty and need across Northern Ireland. It is frustrating that we do not have a functioning Assembly, Minister or scrutiny Committee to oversee, guide and mitigate these important changes. The Department for Communities is responsible for delivering social security in Northern Ireland; it is also responsible for leading efforts across Government aimed at tackling poverty. There is growing concern that the Department is out of touch in terms of the impact some of its…

Olwen Lyner, Chief Executive of NIACRO Olwen Lyner, Chief Executive of NIACRO, believes it is vital that community and voluntary organisations in Northern Ireland are encouraged to offer support to all those who have offended Crime (and how to respond to it) is a topic on which almost everyone has a view and there are many ways we can view what goes on within our justice system. Last year, for example, just over 28,000 cases went through the Magistrates and High Courts in Northern Ireland. Of these, 83.3 percent resulted in a conviction. Interestingly, 44.1 percent of these convictions were…

By Sarah Stafford A father of a teenage girl has recently expressed outrage that the man convicted of sexually assaulting his daughter and previously convicted of rape, was released from prison without his family being informed. But what measures can be implemented to inform and safeguard victims where offenders are either given custodial or probation supervised sentences? I spoke to Gillian Montgomery, Assistant Director and Victims Lead at the Probation Board for Northern Ireland (PBNI), about the benefits and limitations of victim information schemes. “I don’t know the specifics of this case,” Gillian said, “But if victims are not registered…

Northern Ireland man Michael Irwin, who served six years of a 12-year prison sentence for cocaine importation, argues that he has served his sentence to society but poses the question will society ever forgive and forget his criminal conviction? By Michael Irwin My conjured image is not one of a tattily shrouded, crouched and hooded leper hobbling along misty cobbled streets toting his bell but more Peter Sellers’ ludicrous Quasimodo disguise in the 1976 film The Pink Panther Strikes Again and the scene where the hump inflates and the ever unfortunate Clouseau floats over the rooftops of Paris lamenting ‘ahh,…

Deputy VIEWdigital editor Kathryn Johnston talks to Samaritans volunteer Brendan Magee, above, about the charity’s Listeners service in jails for prisoners. Brendan Magee, Prison Support Officer for the Samaritans in Coleraine, has been visiting Magilligan, a Category C prison on the North Coast, for years. Brendan said: “Samaritan volunteers from our branch used to go to the prison, where we did wing walks – going down the wings to speak to the prisoners. “This soon evolved into the idea that we could build on the work started in England and Wales, and very soon the Coleraine branch of the Samaritans…

We were delighted that Sid McDowell, chair of NIACRO, agreed to be the guest editor of the 50th issue of VIEW which examined Crime and Justice issues in Northern Ireland and further afield. By Sid McDowell, guest editor, 50th issue of VIEW Reading through previous editions of VIEW, I am struck by the increasing importance of partnerships for the voluntary, community and social enterprise (VCSE) sectors. Partnerships amongst themselves and partnerships with local and central government. It seems that, in this vindictive age of austerity, and in the face of the pressures associated with competitiveness and the requirement to demonstrate…

Above: Professor Phil Scraton Professor Phil Scraton, left, from the School of Law, Queen’s University, Belfast, answers questions from VIEW editor Brian Pelan about his views on prison reform in Northern Ireland Question: What should the balance be between retribution, rehabilitation and protection of the public when it comes to the purpose of prisons? Answer: These are very different objectives reflecting very different interpretations of what constitutes ‘crime’ and who we define as ‘criminals’. While it is self-evident that a crime is committed when a law is breached – something we all do – what we are focusing on is…

By VIEW editor Brian Pelan A Labour Party peer in Britain has asked the Home office to unblock any legal objection so that some unaccompanied child refugees can be brought to Northern Ireland. Lord Alf Dubs said: “Because there is no Assembly at present, I have asked a Home Minister to unblock any legal objection as there are people in Northern Ireland who are willing to take some of the children who are presently stranded in Europe.” Lord Dubs was in Belfast recently to speak at the 2018 Immigration Conference at the offices of the Law Society of Northern Ireland…

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