Action for Prisoners' Families merges with support organisation Family Lives

From October 1st 2014, Action for Prisoners’ Families will merge with Family Lives and become Action for Prisoners’ and Offenders’ Families (APOF).

APOF will continue to provide a voice for prisoners' and offenders' families and affiliated organisations to promote their wellbeing by influencing policy and supporting good practice.  

Family Lives Chief Executive Jeremy Todd said:

“For many years, Family Lives has supported families with relatives in prison and has engaged with prisoners directly to encourage positive parenting to strengthen families.  As the existing provider of the National Offender Management helpline (NOMS), in partnership with APOF, we recognise the challenges that families face when someone goes to prison. Our merger with APOF provides an excellent opportunity to build on our combined work for the wellbeing of families affected by prison, or when someone is serving their sentence in the community.  Working together with APOF will ensure that we draw on our collective resources and expertise to transform the lives of families, we recognise that without this families themselves face living a hidden sentence themselves.” 

The combined experience and resources of the two organisations will ensure that prisoners’ and offenders’ families’ best interests are represented and promoted in a wider context.  APOF will continue to engage and liaise with its network of prisoners’ and offenders’ families and will likely now be able to benefit from Family Lives’ local and national partnerships and support services.

-ends-

Notes to editors:

For media enquiries contact Simon Walsh, Family Lives’ Press & PR Manager via press@familylives.org.uk 

 APOF is an umbrella organisation with a 2000 strong network of prisoners' and offenders' families and those whose work affects them across England and Wales. It maintains a dialogue with this network through its advisory groups, events, surveys and local engagement. It promotes and supports good policy and practice by providing: a voice for families and those who work with them; an information service; workforce development; practice development seminars; advice and support for front line service providers; publications. 

Family Lives has over 30 years of expertise in delivering direct services to prisoners and their families through educational and support programmes.  Their helpline receives over 120,000 calls each year, plus an email service supporting an additional 4475 users.  In addition, Family Lives delivers a family support programme to prisoners and their families from the Mount Prison, and has previously worked in Eastwood Park Women’s prison and HMP Durham and Low Newton. In addition, Family Lives supports families on a range of issues including mental health, finance, housing issues, and relationship challenges.  

  • The prison population is growing and many prisoners have children who suffer as a result. Statistics on the number of children with a parent or carer in prison are not routinely collected.
  • An estimated 200,000 children have a parent in prison.
  • This is more than twice the number affected by divorce and over three times the number of looked after children 
  • Prisoners are held 50 miles on average from home
  • Prisoners’ children do not usually come from ‘troubled families’ but they are a highly vulnerable group with multiple risk factors for adverse outcomes: they are vulnerable to financial instability, poverty, debt and housing disruption
  • Prisoners’ children are at three times the risk of mental health problems and/or anti-social behaviour compared with other children
  • Most families do not receive formal support when a father is in prison
  • The estimated average personal cost to the family of a prisoner is at least £175 a month

The National Offenders’ Families Helpline is available via 0808 808 2003 Monday – Friday, 9.00 am to 8.00 pm, and Sat-Sun from 10.00 am to 3.00 pm and via http://www.offendersfamilieshelpline.org/