Faith, Family and Crime

This research project focuses on exploring the extent to which a family member’s involvement with the Criminal Justice System (CJS) affects Muslim families and their social and health needs. There has been little or no research undertaken either locally or nationally to assess the extent and nature of these aspects or, indeed, to address the specific needs of Muslim offenders’ families and the impact of the CJS on their health and social needs.

This research work looks beyond the findings from the Young Review and the Lammy Report reports and focuses on the families of Muslim offenders and the negative outcomes they experience from involvement with the Criminal Justice System. This research explores the factors that are closely associated with the families’ negative experiences: faith, culture, mental health, family relationships and emotional well-being, together with the absence of specialist support services available to Muslim families when they most need them.

Because of the dearth of any research undertaken to address these aspects, Arooj approached the Barrow Cadbury Trust in 2016, successfully, to fund this research project, Faith Families and Crime. The findings and recommendations, from the research, which was conducted across Lancashire and the North West, indicate clearly that Muslim families are neither well-informed nor supported throughout the CJS processes, from arrest to the post-sentencing report stage. And give rise to:-

  • Mental and physical stress.
  • Potentially unfair sentencing.
  • A breakdown in communication and family life.


Research Grouping

The project belongs to third sector organisation, Arooj. The research collective of Arooj comprises:

  • Mohammad Hanif and Tariq Mahmood from Arooj, Nelson, Lancashire.
  • Dr Christine Hough, co-researcher and academic, University of Central Lancashire.
  • Professor Edward Abbott-Halpin Project Investigator,co-researcher and academic, Leeds Beckett University and Visiting Professor at Open University, Citizenship and Governance.

Expertise and Subject Areas

  • Culture and Communication; Health and Well Being.
  • Social Inclusion; Mental Health and Well Being

Project Lead

  • Professor Eddie Abbott-Halpin, Chief Executive Orkeny College, University of Highlands and Islands.    
  • Co-lead: Dr Christine Hough Research and Post Graduate Teaching, CELT UCLan.

Project Staff

  • Professor Eddie Abbott-Halpin, Chief Executive Orkeny College, University of Highlands and Islands.    
  • Co-lead: Dr Christine Hough Research and Post Graduate Teaching, CELT UCLan
  • Arooj, a Third Sector Organisation: Mohammad Hanif, Tariq Mahmood

Clients or Funders

  • Barrow Cadbury Trust 


  • April 2017 – August 2018

Public Outputs

  • Executive Summary – published by Barrow Cadbury Trust, October 2018
  • Full Report – about to be published by Barrow Cadbury Trust, November 2018
  • Paper presented at the Biennial Conference of the International Society for Justice Research, at Emory University, Atlanta, July 2018.
  • In the summer of 2018 Routledge publishers approached us to consider writing an edited book in response to the glaring gap that exists in academic literature and research for evidence-based writing and research that is based on:
  1. The complex cultural and faith-based needs of Muslim offenders and their families.
  2. The issues and factors of the intersecting categories of marginalisation that tend to characterise the contexts of vulnerable families who have family members involved in the Criminal Justice system globally (ie not confined to the UK).   
  • The book would fit into Routledge’s Crime and Society series or a work-in -progress series called Families and Crime.  Dr Christine Hough is currently contacting potential collaborators for the book.


  • The Full Report of the Faith Family and Crime research project contains a foreword written by Lancashire’s Police and  Crime Commissioner, Clive Grunshaw.
  • Dr Christine Hough has been invited to present the research findings at the British Islam Conference, to be held in London in February 2019.
  • The Executive Summary and Full Report of the project have now been agreed and finalised  by the Barrow Cadbury Trust, so these documents are now available for public dissemination.
  • We held a dissemination event at the HQ of our funders, in London, in October 2018, which other Muslim BCT funded Muslim organisations attended.
  • A Lancashire launch of the research findings is planned for some time in January 2019.
  • UCLan’s marketing service suggested that an article on the research work be written for The Conversation