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Our mission is to support & advocate for people with criminal records to be able to move on positively in their lives. Find out more

Look what we’ve done! 

You can see all we achieved in 2015/16 in our annual report.

Why we are here

The world is increasingly complex for anyone with a conviction. It can leave many people hopeless and despairing of ever re-building their lives. The law around disclosure is complicated and inconsistent. There are fewer and fewer sources of advice. Use – often unfair use – of the DBS is snowballing. It gets harder to maintain personal privacy in an online world. Unlock gives people practical help to deal with the everyday challenges of living with a criminal record. We also lobby for fairer systems – changes to make a big difference to many people.

What did we achieve in 2015/16?

In 2015/16 our staff of five:

  • campaigned for fairer job-recruitment practices
    • we produced helpful guidance
    • we queried the use of badly-worded forms
    • we challenged employers who used  the wrong level of criminal records check
  • gave information to hundreds of thousands of people via our Information Hub (nearly 900,000 unique visits).
  • engaged with thousands more people with our Disclosure CalculatorForum and e-magazine (theRecord).
  • helped more than 4000 individuals to get the information and advice they needed via our Helpline.
  • trained 162 professional practitioners – helping them to help others understand about criminal records.
  • gave face-to-face information to dozens of people in prison.
  • supported 14 volunteers (including serving prisoners) to become Helpline Assistants and gain valuable work experience.

All this has made a profound difference to individual lives.

“When I first got in touch with Unlock I was very low, but they gave me the emotional support and encouragement I needed. I had felt very isolated but knowing that someone else was there who knew what I was going through kept me going. I don’t know if I’d be here today if it wasn’t for Unlock.”

“… the information I’ve received off Unlock has been invaluable and has gone a long way to making me feel like my life isn’t ruined! The helpline is amazing; always well-staffed and every single person I spoke to was informative, helpful, reassuring and most importantly, non- judgemental.”

2016/17
This year is even busier! With the need for our work ever-expanding, we estimate over 6000 people will use our Helpline and we’ll receive over one million visits to our online resources.

We would like to thank you anyone who has helped us in the last year, and if you would like to continue help us and remain independent we are grateful for any donations.

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Photo of Helpline lead, Debbie Sadler
Debbie Sadler
Helpline lead

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