Defendants who are parents

Information for Defendants who are parents

If you are a defendant with children, questions about what to expect from the criminal justice
process multiply. We hope that the following resources offer the information you might be
looking for, but if you have any questions that are not answered here, please get in touch
and we’ll do our best to help.

Information for Adults

Supporting a Child This page by Pact provides information about what to tell your child when a loved one goes
to prison, and how to support them.

Information for Primary Carers Facing Sentencing in the Criminal Courts
By Dr S Minson, qualified barrister and criminologist This article is designed to help parents who are awaiting a sentencing hearing in a criminal
court. It is written to assist parents to ensure the judge or magistrate considers the effects on
your children of any sentence.

Safeguarding Children when Sentencing Parents
By Dr S Minson, qualified barrister and criminologist
This article is written for people who work in the criminal justice system. It provides
information about established principles for sentencing parents, the rights of children whose
parents are being sentenced, and the impact this might have on the child.

Sexual offence convictions: what you need to know
This page on the Unlock Information Hub is designed to support parents who have been
arrested by the police on suspicion of committing a sexual offence.

Information: Relationships, children and dealing with social services
This page on the Unlock Information Hub provides information about relationships and
children, to those who have been convicted of a sexual offence.

Support for Mothers who are Defendants


Rights of Women ‘Children and the Law’ Guides:
Parental responsibility
When families cannot agree
When social services are involved
Birth Companions Prison Advice
This page provides resources for women, and the families of women, who are worried about
going to prison pregnant or while caring for a baby.
Mum’s the Word
This free, easy-to-read book is designed to bring hope and encouragement to mothers in
Women Flip the Script
This new resource is a combination of audio and written material created by criminal justice
organisations and women with experience of the system. It combines personal testimonies
with practical tips, advice and support.


Advance provides support to women in contact with the criminal justice system. They
operate women’s centres for women with lived experience of prison, where they host group
activities, workshops, courses, open days and more.

Support for Families


Prison Reform Trust Advice and Information Service
Prison Reform Trust offers a freephone number, voicemail service and email advice service,
and they accept written letters requesting advice and support, too.
Prisoners’ Advice Service Email Helpline
The Prisoners’ Advice Service Helpline is currently unavailable by telephone, so they are
offering an email helpline.
StopSO Support for Families Online Group
This platform is a safe place for the families of those who have committed sexual offences. It
is hosted and moderated by StopSO, and lets users share experiences and provide support
to one another.
The NICCO Directory of Services contains a list of prison-based and community-based
services provided for the children and families of people in prison.

England and Wales

Prisoners’ Families Helpline for England and Wales
The Prisoners’ Families Helpline supports people with a family member in prison by
providing advice and information on every aspect of the criminal justice system in England
and Wales. The service is free and confidential, and you do not have to give your name if
you do not want to.
Kinship Carers Advice Line
Kinship provides a telephone and email advice line to people who are looking after a child
whose parent is in prison, such as members of the extended family. This page also includes
information about caring for children with a parent in prison.
Nepacs is based in the North East of England, providing support to prisoners and their
families in the region.
Out There
Out There provides emotional and practical support and an information service to families of
people in prison in Greater Manchester.
Lincolnshire Action Trust
Lincolnshire Action Trust supports individuals and the families of individuals who are in
contact with the criminal justice system.
HALOW Birmingham
HALOW provides help and advice to the wives, partners and families of people in
Birmingham and Oakwood.


Spurgeons Prison-based Family Support Services
Spurgeons provides family support services for prisoners and their families and friends. They
focus on children and strengthening family relationships.


Families/Friends of Prisoners
FFOPS operates a centre for families affected by imprisonment to drop in and speak to staff
and volunteers who are trained to listen and provide support, advice and signposting. It is
open on every day of the week and no booking is required. The FFOPS answering machine
service is available 24/7. They also organise family days and provide a community outreach


Families Outside
Families Outside is the only national charity that works solely on behalf of families affected
by imprisonment in Scotland. They offer direct support to families through a helpline and
regional advice, supporting families to understand what they can expect at different stages in
the criminal justice process.

Northern Ireland

NIACRO supports families of those in prison to maintain relationships. They provide
emotional and practical support, and debt and money advice, to families affected by
imprisonment. NIACRO also welcomes and supports visitors to Magilligan, Maghaberry and
Hydebank Wood.

Support for Children


Children Heard and Seen
Children Heard and Seen provides support and interventions for children with a parent in
prison. They are primarily based in Oxfordshire, but now offer online support.
England and Wales
Animated Videos with Information for Children and Young People
This page by Pact contains different animated videos about the rights of children with a
parent in prison, what it means when a parent goes to prison, and the stories of children with
experience of a parent in prison.
Pact Packets
Pact Packets is a collection of free downloadable, printable activities for children, families
and people in prison to complete. There is a packet for young children, for older
children/teenagers, for partners of those being released from prison, and for the family
member in prison.
Locked Out: A book for children with a loved one in prison
Locked Out is a free book produced by Pact to support children to cope with the
imprisonment of a loved one. It contains guidance for parents/carers and activities for
Ormiston Families Breaking Barriers
This service provides tailored one-to-one emotional support for children and young people
affected by the imprisonment of a close family member.
Ormiston Families Prisoners’ Family Services
Ormiston Families provides expert support, advice and guidance to children and young
people visiting a relative in prison. They also offer a range of services for families.


Families Outside Group Work and Peer Support Service, and Activity Packs
The Families Outside Group Work and Peer Support service encourages children, young
people and adults affected by the imprisonment of a family member to share their
experiences and learn from one another. These sessions are delivered in person and on
Zoom. Families outside also publishes Activity Packs for children and families to complete
together at home or during a virtual or in-person visit.

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