- Supporting Victims of Unfounded Allegations of Abuse (FACT)
FACT is a UK-wide non-profit company that focuses on providing support to people who have been accused of abuse, who maintain their innocence and who have never carried out similar offences or pleaded guilty to such offences. They provide support and advice free of charge to the general public (e.g. professionals, volunteers and their spouses or partners), raise public awareness concerning the reality and risks of false allegations of abuse and encourage and promote research into the reasons why false allegations are made.
FACT provides support through the following ways:
1). Maintaining a telephone helpline (08432892016, for England and Wales online, available 10am to 10pm daily. Note that this is a “charged for” number although FACT does not receive income from this); 2). Providing direct support to accused people as they negotiate police and employment procedures as a result of being falsely accused;
3). Signposting people to specialist lawyers;
4). Arranging two conferences a year for FACT members, Associate and Friends of FACT.
You can reach out to FACT through telephone (08432892016; general inquiry – 08443510126), email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or by post (FACT, 83 Ducie Street, Manchester, M1 2JQ). Website: https://factuk.org
- Support Through Court
Support Through Court is a charity that was founded in 2001 and it exists to reduce the disadvantage of people facing the civil or family justice system without a lawyer. Understanding that going through court can be incredibly complex and bewildering, the organisation works with trained volunteers and external agencies to provide free practical, procedural and emotional support to people facing court alone, empowering people who feel that they have nowhere else to turn.
Support Through Court provides free services based in court buildings. So far, the organisation has offices in the following locations: Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Chelmsford, Exeter, Leeds, Liverpool, London, Manchester, Newcastle, Newport, Nottingham, Sheffield and Southend. Clients who wish to request an appointment at one of their office locations can do so through filling an online appointment request form (https://customervoice.microsoft.com/Pages/ResponsePage.aspx?id=xw8fOxyORUmf9jVSCvvbEY-i-s0wrZZDnDnlusWAYBhUQ0lGWEQyRUdDQUJCSEJKWURLN0QzVldYTi4u). A phone or video call will be arranged after the request is sent.
In addition, the organisation also offers a National Helpline Service on 03000 810 006 which is open Monday to Friday 10:30am to 3:30pm.
Volunteers from Support Through Court will provide the following services:
1). Explain how the court works, help fill in forms, organise papers, and discuss settling issues without going to court;
2). Help plan what you want to say in court, and if needed, go with you to court to provide support and help afterwards;
3). Provide details of other specialist advice agencies, where possible, and help you find out whether you can get free legal advice.
As an award-winning charity, Support Through Court has so far nearly 500 dedicated volunteers and operates from 17 courts across England and Wales.
- Queen Mary Legal Advice Centre
The Queen Mary Legal Advice Centre provides free legal advice to members of the public, staff and students at Queen Mary University of London. The types of issues that they can assist with include where a person has been a victim of a criminal offence or is being accused on one.
A relevant project of the Centre is the Criminal Justice Project, designed to assist anyone who might have a query on a matter of criminal law or procedure. They are able to deal with queries from people with a range of different issues, such as:
1). People due to be witnesses at court;
2). Victims of crime;
3). Victims of crime who wish to pursue a claim with the Criminal Justice Compensation Authority;
4). Those who are charged with criminal offences;
5). Those who are being investigated for criminal offences;
6). Those who have been sentenced for criminal offences and wish to seek advice on appealing their sentence; and
7). Those who want advice on CRB (Criminal Records Bureau) checks.
Law students who work in the Centre are under the supervision of qualified lawyers, and they will conduct interviews with clients, analyse their legal problems and research the issues involved in their clients’ cases.
Clients are then sent a written letter of advice, normally within two weeks of the initial interview.
Unlock is a national independent advocacy charity founded by a group of former prisoners who wanted to use their experience so that people with convictions would have better opportunities to move on in their lives. The organisation focuses on the long-term disadvantage of convictions, impacting on individuals and their families, organisations and communities, and society. They work in partnership, and with volunteers, to achieve outcomes at both the individual and systemic level.
In practice, Unlock’s work includes the following four parts:
1). Supports people with convictions by providing information, advice and support their their website and helpline (https://unlock.org.uk/topic/about-criminal-records/#online);
2). Helps practitioners who support people with convictions by providing criminal record disclosure training and useful resources;
3). Recruits and trains people with conviction as volunteers to help support the information and advice they provide; and
4). Supports employers in the fair treatment of people with criminal records.
Meanwhile, Unlock are taking actions in the following areas:
1). Collecting evidence and undertaking research into the barriers caused by criminal convictions;
2). Challenging bad practice by employers and push for improvements to the way that criminal record checks operate; and
3). Advocating for a fairer and more inclusive society by working at a policy level with government, employers and others.
Advicenow is an independent, non-for-profit website, run by the charity Law for life: the Foundation for Public Legal Education. It provides accurate, practical information on rights and the law in England and Wales. In particular, the organisation provides multimedia information and education that explains how to manage legal situations in a straight-forward way and delivers community-based education and training projects that help people to understand how the law works and build their skills and confidence. Meanwhile, Advicenow also supports other organisations around the world to help their users make sense of the law through their research, consultancy and training.
The Police and Crime page (https://www.advicenow.org.uk/topics/police-and-crime) on Advicenow’s website offers information top picks on their clients’ rights, with regard to police investigation, arrest and detention at the police station, prosecution, sentencing and imprisonment.
Law for Life: the Foundation for Public Legal Education, 4th Floor, 18 St. Cross Street, London, EC1N 8UN
Appeal is a charity and law practice dedicated to fighting miscarriages of justice and demanding reform. The organisation fights the cases of individual victims of unsafe convictions and unfair sentences who cannot afford to pay for a lawyer themselves. Based on tried and tested model of non-profit holistic law practices in the United States, Appeal is pioneering a fresh approach by integrating quality legal representation and holistic care for those they represent in parallel with advocacy for system reform. Besides, Appeal supports those they represent to try and rebuild their lives after suffering a miscarriage of justice – both within prison and after release. This includes helping them to access their rights and secure support to address complex physical and mental health needs. They also advocate for victims in financial, housing, education and employment matters.
The organisation screens to find cases with merit and high potential impact, and dig deep to find the fresh evidence that proves a conviction is unsafe or a sentence is unfair. Then the organisation brings cases to the criminal cases review commission, the administrative court and the court of appeal. Last but not the least, Appeal partner with criminal justice stakeholders on campaigns to ensure the system learns its mistakes by promoting open and accountable justice, robust science, effective practice and a gender responsive approach.
If you want to request help with a case, please first read Appeal’s case selection criteria (https://appeal.org.uk/contact/case-related). If you think you case meets their criteria, please contact the organisation through an enquiry form (https://appeal.org.uk/contact).
Phone: 0207 278 6949
Address: Appeal, 6-8 Anwell Street (First Floor), London EC1R 1UQ