Hafal 180A new Hafal initiative to provide support to people in Wales with a mental illness who are in contact with the criminal justice system (CJS), is set to be launched by Deputy Health Minister Vaughan Gething this week.

The Deputy Health Minister will officially launch the new project during an event at the Pierhead in Cardiff Bay on June 4, which will be attended by service users and carers from across Wales.


Hafal has been awarded £149,000 by Comic Relief to deliver the Access to Justice project, which will provide a single point of contact for people with a mental illness and their carers in the CJS, giving them access to expert advice, information and signposting.

The new initiative aims to raise awareness of mental health issues within the CJS and to promote fair treatment of people with a mental illness. Hafal’s chief executive, Alun Thomas, believes it is a "much-needed service.”

He added: "The Comic Relief funding will enable us to promote better understanding of mental illness within the criminal justice system and improve outcomes for people with mental illness.

"It will ensure they get the support they need in a timely manner, and provide them with the best opportunities to make a recovery and break the cycle of reoffending. It will also provide key support to people with a mental illness who have been victims of crime, or who are witnesses."

The Access to Justice initiative will see the creation of an Access to Justice Champion. The Champion will gather evidence of need through engagement with mental health service users who are caught up in the CJS and their families, and voice the concerns of this marginalised group at a national level.

The Champion will work alongside operational and strategic practitioners in order to fully understand the gaps and needs within the current system, and will advocate and advise on new ways of working in order to achieve better outcomes for individuals and practitioners.

To find out more visit www.hafal.org.