Toggle Contrast

Family members in the Criminal Justice System

What does it mean?

We understand that families with members who are in the criminal justice system need specific support and advice.

Currently, there are no formal systems in place to identify which families have a family member in the criminal justice system and so we want to make sure you have the information you need to reach out for support and resources to help you, should you need them.

The criminal justice system is made up of UK services responsible for administering justice. This includes the police, the crown prosecution service and the prison system.


Why do I need to know as a parent or carer?

When someone enters the criminal justice system or indeed goes to prison, it can be a challenging and confusing time for the whole family.

What we do know, is that children, as well as the rest of the family, can be greatly impacted when they have a family member in the criminal justice system.

All children, including adolescent children, can experience all or some of the following:

  • Emotional and mental health difficulties including anxiety, anger, sadness, and depression.
  • Difficulties accessing community resources. They may become isolated and withdraw from friends.
  • They may struggle to attend school/college and even when attending, fail to achieve their education goals.
  • Long term effects relating to the trauma.

We know that often families worry about being judged and stigmatised and are worried about seeking help. However, the difficulties and challenges you face can be mitigated with appropriate help and support.

Childline have created a number of resources to support adolescent children when a family member is in the criminal justice system. You can access this information by clicking here.


Where can I get local advice and support?


Winchester Prison Family Support Services (Spurgeons) – offers practical and emotional support to prisoners and their families. Click here

Isle of Wight: 

Isle of Wight Family Centres:

Family Centre email address:

West & Central Hub
East Newport Family Centre, Furrlongs, Newport, PO30 2AX                                                     Tel: 01983 529208

North East Wight Hub
Ryde Family Centre, George Street, Ryde, PO33 2JF                                                                     Tel: 01983 617617

South Wight Hub
Sandown Family Centre, The Fairway, Sandown, PO36 9EQ                                                       Tel: 01983 408718


Where can I get more advice from national resources and support?

The following provides information to parents and carers on apps that young people can use. It also includes advice on how to have conversations with the young people in your life and identify any support they might need.

Link and/or QR code Description
Prisoners’ Families Helpline

Tel: 0808 808 2003

Prisoners’ Families Helpline is a national organisation and a great resource for all UK families. They also have a freephone helpline.
Nicco Nicco is a national information centre who support children of offenders.
Affect Affect supports the families and friends of prisoners regardless of length of sentence or type of offence.
Prison Chat UK Prison Chat is an online community giving support to those who have a loved one inside the British prison system.
Time Matters UK Time-Matters UK supports children who are impacted by parental imprisonment. They provide group support and individual support for children and young people aged five years to 18 years, both face to face and online. They support children from anywhere in the UK.