The High Sheriff of Gloucestershire
The role of the High Sheriff traditionally involves attendance at royal visits in the County and support for Her Majesty’s High Court Judges when on Circuit. These days, however, High Sheriffs play an increasingly active and supportive role within their Counties both in relation to the Police and emergency services and in lending encouragement to public sector agencies such as the probation and prison services and to voluntary sector organisations involved in crime reduction and social cohesion.
Helen Lovatt - High Sherriff
Born in New Zealand, Helen came to England when she was 7, with her siblings and parents, who were returning to the UK. She moved to Gloucestershire as a teenager and did her A Levels at Cheltenham Ladies’ College.
After completing her Law degree at the University of Reading and serving her Articles in Birmingham, on qualifying as a Solicitor, she returned to practice in Gloucester. Helen juggled her career as a corporate finance lawyer with family life, as well as a commitment to the voluntary sector both as a fundraiser for the NSPCC and the National Star College and in governance roles at her children’s schools and at Gloucestershire College.
Since escaping from the law in 2010, she has carried out a range of business consultancy roles and devoted more time to the voluntary sector. She was until February 2019 a trustee of Gloucestershire Community Foundation.
Helen is Warden of the Honourable Company of Gloucestershire until May 2020. She and Iain were married in 1986 and they have 4 children, Sarah, Fergus, Gregor and Louise. They have lived in Pittville, Cheltenham for 26 years. in her spare time, she enjoys travelling, supporting Gloucester Rugby, watching cricket, walking and skiing.
In addition to resources and initiatives run in the past with previous High Sheriffs, January 2012 saw the launch of the latest initiative of this partnership, 'Getting Court', co-ordinated by the previous High Sheriff, Mark Heywood. This resource is designed for use in secondary schools or colleges and is a series of lessons explaining the workings of the Crown Court system of England and Wales, alongside some innovative lessons to challenge pupils, e.g. to question if they would speak up for justice, no matter what the risk, as well as a host of other related learning opportunities.
The Project fits into the existing PSHE & Citizenship part of the National Curriculum. This resource has been carefully tailored to respond to the curriculum in a way which will provide an introduction for both teachers and students at the heart of its purpose, which is to attend a working Court to see and hear the sometimes harsh realities, of the criminal justice system, being played out. Getting Court is a very easy to use, off the shelf resource, written by teachers who have been supported by professionals who work within our judicial system.
The resource covers the following:
- What happens if you have to make a choice?
- What happens if you break the law?
- What happens if you have to speak up?
- What happens if you are found guilty?
- What happens if you visit a court?
And finally, some assessment for learning ideas and useful websites.
You can read the table of contents of the lesson pack here. One chapter gives guidance for teachers wishing to take students to Crown Court – this includes draft parental consent letters and risk assessments.
Launched across the county in January 2012, this resource was rolled-out to all Gloucestershire secondary schools and the visits have been running since October 2011.
Out of all the replies received from children and young people who have visited the Crown Court in action, through this programme (1 visit is run per month), the following statistics show the impact on these children and young people. To date, a total of 110 children and young people from across the county have been on one of these Crown Court visits.
41 children and young people changed from having a low level of awareness to a high level of awareness of the Crown Court System and how it works in England and Wales
46 children and young people reported that as a result of the Crown Court visit undertaken, their behaviour, or the behaviour of others, will change in the future.
Reasons for this reported change given by the children and young people have included:-
- It will influence them to behave well
- More awareness of punishment
- Aware of consequences now make me think more
- Was the real world – need to be more like an adult – harsh sentencing for doing things wrong so need to be careful
- More awareness of punishment
- Would be punished fairly
- The consequences of doing wrong scared them
- Getting in to trouble would affect their future and lifestyle
- Would be scared of going to prison
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