Focus On: Armed Forces Charities in the Criminal Justice System

September, 2019

The purpose of this report is to hold up an objective mirror to the UK armed forces charity sector and, for the first time, provide an account of the criminal justice support offered by such charities. To that end DSC devised the following research questions:

  • How many armed forces charities support individuals and their families in the criminal justice system?
  • How is criminal justice support delivered to beneficiaries?
  • What examples of collaboration, evaluation and challenges exist?

This report is intended as a resource for those who work in the armed forces charity sector, along with policymakers, the media, government bodies and interested members of the public.


The armed forces charity sector often comes under fire for containing ‘too many’ charities (Haynes, 2017). Yet, DSC’s Focus On reports have shown that when the sector is analysed by topic of support, a relatively small number of charities are found to be supporting large numbers of beneficiaries across each area of provision. The 31 charities represented in this report equate to around 1.6% of all UK armed forces charities(N=1,888) (Doherty et al., 2019). When they were analysed further, DSC found small cohorts of charities delivering specifically directed support at differing stages of the criminal justice system, both within and outside the prison system. This is significantly less than the number of charities delivering support for physical health (N=121), education and employment (N=78), housing (N=78), and mental health (N=76).

Full Reference

Robson, A., Cole, S. and Doherty, R., 2019. Focus On: Armed Forces Charities in the Criminal Justice System. Directory of Social Change. Final report. Available at: <>.

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