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Launch of new Centre for Crime and Social Justice linking universities across Wales

Aberystwyth University has joined with six other universities across Wales to form the Welsh Centre for Crime and Social Justice (WCCSJ), which will be formally launched at the Senedd at 5.00 p.m. today, Wednesday, November 24, 2010. 

The launch, sponsored by Ceredigion AM Elin Jones, will include an address by the First Minister of Wales, Rt Hon Carwyn Jones, himself a graduate of Aberystwyth University's Department of Law and Criminology, where the WCCSJ office is housed.

The initiative, which is part-funded by the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales, brings together experts in criminology, social policy, law and psychology from Aberystwyth, Bangor, Cardiff, Glamorgan, Glyndŵr, Newport and Swansea, to enhance the scale and impact of crime related research in Wales. 

Its work will bridge devolved and non-devolved policy areas, including both criminal justice responses to crime and strategies which aim to tackle the roots of offending and anti-social behaviour.

WCCSJ will offer high quality, policy-relevant research at a pan-Wales level, as well as advice, training, seminars and workshops.  It will be a valuable resource for the Welsh Assembly Government and other governmental, public, private and third sector organisations. 

It also has close links with the Welsh Institute for Social and Economic Research, Data and Methods (WISERD) and the Universities Police Science Institute (UPSI), both of which are strongly supported by the Welsh Assembly Government.

To coincide with the launch on 24 November, WCCSJ is co-hosting with WISERD an inaugural seminar, Criminology for Social Justice, at the Wales Millennium Centre.  Among the issues explored will be linking research, policy and practice in the field of substance misuse in Wales and the lessons to be learnt from the Swansea Bureau’s innovative work with young people in trouble.  The seminar will be introduced by Professor Mike Maguire of the University of Glamorgan, the first Director of WCCSJ.

Wales’ Social Justice Minister Carl Sargeant said, “Although criminal justice is not devolved to Wales, we still have an important role to play in reducing crime and keeping our neighbourhoods safe. Community Safety Partnerships for example unite police offers with residents, to find local solutions to local issues.

“Collaborations such as the Welsh Centre for Crime and Social Justice can provide the information we need to shape our crime busting policies, and help us understand what works and what doesn’t.”

Kate Williams of Aberystwyth University, the Deputy Director of WCCSJ, said:  “This is an exciting new venture allowing academics from across Wales to provide practitioners and policy makers with research and knowledge to shape crime and social policy for Wales ensuring distinctive, inclusive, just and supportive responses to problems caused by crime and anti-social behaviour.”

Publication date: 24 November 2010