Sacro is a Scottish community justice organisation which works to create safer and more cohesive communities across Scotland. Sacro provides a wide range of services spanning all aspects of the community justice continuum. These range from conflict resolution to prevent disputes escalating, to supporting prisoners on release. All our services are designed to create safe and cohesive communities by reducing conflict and offending. The organisation works with a broad range of people, including those harmed by crime and those responsible for that harm.
As a Scotland-wide voluntary organisation, we are committed to providing services that contribute to positive transformational changes in the lives of our service users. We work independently and collaboratively within Scotland’s communities to provide support, prevent conflict and challenge offending behaviour wherever the need arises. Our services are based on research evidence, service user feedback, international standards of good practice and a commitment to development and innovation.
Since its inception, Sacro has grown and developed new services for young people, bail, intensive supervision of high risk offenders and other priority categories. Sacro currently has almost 200 staff and volunteers, offering over 60 services in 22 locations across Scotland. In 2012/2013 our services received more than 9,000 referrals. Within each of these referrals are individuals who require support, guidance or monitoring to reduce the risk of further conflict or offending. Sacro has played its part by contributing to reducing reoffending with the figures for recorded crime in Scotland at a 42-year low. Sacro’s work has a tangible and far-reaching benefit for the people of Scotland, its communities and society. Although the organisation has changed and evolved over its 45 years, we know that supporting and guiding our service users through positive transformational life changes contributes greatly to a reduction in their conflict and offending.
Our vision is for a safer Scotland, able to resolve conflict constructively and to deal effectively with offending and its consequences.
Our mission is to be a community-based organisation that will create safe and cohesive communities by reducing conflict and offending.
Sacro’s Values and Principles
We are committed to working to the highest ethical standards. These include: integrity; recognising and valuing diversity; promoting equality of opportunity; and probity in the use of public funds. Our practice is guided by the belief that all should be shown respect and be empowered to take personal responsibility, acknowledging their capacity for change. Our key principles are that we acknowledge:
- Conflict is most effectively resolved through informal, facilitated resolution which assists those involved to identify their own lasting solutions;
- Offending and its consequences are most effectively dealt with through an emphasis on community disposals and sentencing, other than where there is an overriding need to protect society.
Sacro has spent over 40 years working to reduce conflict and offending in Scotland. Initially, volunteers provided a drop-in centre in Edinburgh, a hostel in Glasgow and a travel services for families of prisoners from the two cities to Scottish prisons. Over the years, locally managed Sacro services were set up throughout Scotland and in November 1971, formed The Scottish Association for the Care and Resettlement of Offenders (SACRO). Much of the focus of this original Association is as relevant today as it was then. In these early years, SACRO volunteers provided ex-prisoners and their families with friendship, support and guidance following release. Problems of loneliness, homelessness and disassociation from society were constant barriers to effective rehabilitation and SACRO provided this vulnerable group with much-needed support. In 1992 SACRO’s independent local services merged into a single organisation. In 1998 the Board took the decision to rebrand the organisation by dispensing with the acronym and using the descriptor: “Safeguarding Communities – Reducing Offending”. This was to reflect a shift in emphasis of its work from working only for the welfare of individual offenders, to an organisation where services were working with communities and with offenders and their families to make communities safer. It was also to reflect that Sacro is working “with” not “for” offenders, respecting and believing in their capacity for personal responsibility and change.