Finding Hope - By Sheila 

I got to know Pact over 15 years ago. My son was only sixteen when he was put into prison for the first time. I was in pieces. I didn’t know what to do. Someone told me about Pact and I visited their offices in search of some sign of hope. I was embarrassed about my situation and hesitant to talk to people because of the stigma of having a family member in prison but Pact offered me a non-judgemental listening ear.

During the 13 years my son was in prison Pact were there to offer support and guidance. I regularly called the helpline when I was dealing with things I didn’t think I could face alone. They organised meetings with other people who had a family member in prison. Those meetings were a place I knew people would understand me, where people knew what it was like to go through this experience. We supported each other. We pressed on, together.

When someone goes to prison the family are often forgotten. In many ways we are hidden victims no one thinks about and there is little support available. When a loved one is sentenced, we also face serving a time in which our lives are dramatically changed. But, we must press on. I found hope through Pact. They really understand the needs of those with a loved one in prison. I don’t know how I would have coped without them. Their support led me to volunteer on the Prisoners’ Families Helpline. I hope that when people are facing times of crisis I’ll be able to offer the same support and understanding that I received through Pact. We Press On – Together, In Hope.

Having a loved one caught up in the criminal justice system can be a scary and confusing experience. We know that having someone to talk to who is impartial, sympathetic and non-judgemental can be a huge help. Our helpline is a free and confidential service, and our helpline volunteers can offer practical and emotional support, information and advice to anyone who is affected by imprisonment, in a straightforward, non-judgemental way. You can reach the Pact Helpline on 0808 808 3444 Monday to Friday from 10am to 5pm. You can also email us on [email protected] or fill in our webform by clicking here