Shafa provides a personal touch and a common language to help South Asian offenders to break the offending cycle. With a high rate of compliance and completion, Shafa is an invaluable resource available to the probation service.

Touchstone’s Shafa project works with people of South Asian origin, who have been involved with the Criminal Justice System and helps their Case Managers to gain a better understanding of the their needs. This ensures fairer and more informed Sentence Plans are produced at the outset of their rehabilitation.

Shafa is delivered by professionals with lived experience, who understand, both the culture and languages of those that are referred to them.  They use motivational interview techniques to help service users recognise their own strengths and use these as a basis to plan pathways away from a criminal lifestyle.  Shafa helps to ensure Service Users comply with their Order and any requirements attached to the Order.

Shafa has been working with the National Probation Service and local Community Rehabilitation Companies in West and South Yorkshire to improve lives and reduce reoffending rates and latest figures show over 300 Service Users have now complied and successfully completed the programme in West Yorkshire. 

Feedback from Offender Managers shows how Shafa support is vital in building trust, reassuring  Service Users that they will be treated fairly within the Criminal Justice system

“I would be unable to perform certain duties if I did not have the support of Shafa. It’s not just about language barriers… it’s having the knowledge & skills of the Shafa worker to understand any cultural or religious issues that impact upon risk assessment & management- the opportunity to explore aspects of the service users life experiences which might impact upon their ability to comply with the expectations of being on Licence. Being able to discuss that with the Shafa worker is invaluable in managing risk”.  NPS Probation Officer July 2020

Shafa’s experienced Case Managers take time to build trust with Service Users that are referred to them and can help them address the requirements of their order as well as working on a range of issues in a culturally sensitive way, including; access to Education, Training and Employment, discussing Mental Health issues, helping to resolve Family matters, helping to access debt services and creating pathways to dependency recovery.

After undertaking a series of one-to-one sessions a Service User commented:

“I made a mistake and, for the first time in my life I was before the Police and Judge, but it is with (God’s) thanks that I am able to work with Ijaz and Shafa to help me”

Photo by Jeremy Yap on Unsplash