From August 1st 2014, Family Lives became responsible for the National Offenders’ Families Helpline and website working in partnership with Action for Prisoners’ Families. The Freephone helpline, website and email service will continue to provide offenders’ families with information and support, ranging from arranging prison visits to advice around issues such as coping with stress. The helpline will empower families to manage the challenges they experience, gain access to sources of help, take their own informed decisions and take increased control of their lives. The service will contribute towards improving family wellbeing, increasing prisoner contact with families, and ultimately reducing reoffending.
Family Lives Chief Executive Jeremy Todd said: “From our joint experience, we know that there are many challenges when working with offenders families. Often they feel helpless and confused and may be very upset when they make contact. Families often see themselves as a source of support for their relatives and often want to advocate for them. Working together with Action for Prisoners’ Families we will ensure that we draw on our collective resources and expertise to transform the lives of families by providing support, signposting and direction to parents and strengthening family relationships to ensure information and support is available to all families, especially those who are particularly vulnerable or facing disadvantage.”
Deborah Cowley from Action for Prisoners’ Families said: “Our long established experience of working for the wellbeing of prisoners’ families will enable us to address the challenges faced by prisoners’ families. Our new collaboration with Family Lives will enable us to hear the concerns of a wide range of families and feed this back to service providers all over England and Wales so that they can develop their services to take account of these concerns. Working in unison will enable us to maximise prisoners’ and offenders’ families’ awareness of the helpline so they can access emotional support, as well as information that is clear and easily accessible.”