In January 2018, Rhian* was serving a prison sentence. She had been in prison before, but this time was different. During a short period of time when she was in the community, Rhian had fallen pregnant. This time, she was determined that when she was released, she would stay out for good. She'd make a fresh start and live a crime-free life as a new mum.

When Rhian was released from prison at the end of January 2018, the Pact Futures** Mentor was there to support Rhian to stay on the right road - from accompanying her to meetings, supporting her to sort out finances and accommodation, and lending a kind, listening ear.

Rhian explained to the Mentor that her ex-partner and the father to her child had a history of being violent towards her, and she was very worried, not wanting to slip back into the unhealthy relationship. The Mentor and Rhian agreed it was important for her to stay safe during her pregnancy and thereafter, and so they set about securing a stable, safe home for Rhian and her unborn child, where she could have independence and make a fresh start without her ex-partner. 

The Mentor also accompanied and supported Rhian in speaking with social services, so that Rhian could declare her pregnancy, talk through her history and be totally open and upfront with professionals, in order to maximise the chance of her keeping her baby. The social services were pleased to see Rhian rebuilding her life, and taking the right steps to ensure the safety of herself and her unborn baby. They would continue to monitor and stay in touch with Rhian, and were pleased to see she had the support of a Mentor. 

After a few weeks, Rhian moved from temporary accommodation in a Bed & Breakfast into a flat owned by a family member. Things were starting to look up, however, after a short period of time a breakdown in the wider family saw Rhian become homeless when she was 5 months pregnant. The Pact Futures Mentor and Rhian had returned to the flat after a meeting to find the locks had been changed. 

After securing emergency permission from Rhian's Offender Manager for her to stay overnight at her nan's house, Rhian and her baby were safe for the night. And the next morning Rhian and her Mentor were able to work with the council to secure accommodation, where Rhian stayed, enjoying a stable, happy life until it was nearly time for her baby boy’s arrival.

As her due date was drawing near, Rhian was feeling extremely anxious, and during a crisis of confidence she met up with her ex-partner. This was in direct conflict with the Child Protection Plan that had been set by social services and Rhian risked losing custody of her child if she continued a relationship with her ex-partner.

At the time, the Pact Futures Mentoring support was coming to an end. However, in light of this incident, Rhian’s probation worker and social worker asked the Pact Futures Mentor if she could meet up with Rhian, give her some support and help her to understand that in order to keep her baby she would need to cut ties with her ex-partner.  

The Mentor spent the afternoon with Rhian, and after some discussion she made the decision to cut her ex-partner out of her life for good. Together, they made a plan of how she would do this, and what action she needed to take if he tried to contact her. With Rhian feeling confident and determined, they went their separate ways, but the Mentor agreed to continue checking in with Rhian on the phone every fortnight in the run up to the birth of her child.

Six weeks later Rhian gave birth to a healthy baby boy. The Mentor attended the discharge meeting at the hospital along with her probation officer, social worker and health visitor to agree how Rhian would manage her new life in the community.

In August 2018, Rhian was referred to a local women’s mentoring service, where Rhian was assigned a new mentor moving forward. Rhian was exceptionally grateful for the support provided by Pact Futures, and their flexibility in supporting her through a very emotional and challenging period in her life. She has matured, grown in confidence, and become a caring new mum to her son, truly making a fresh start.

To find out more about our Through The Gate Mentoring Service, please click here

*Name changed to protect identity

**Pact Futures CIC is a wholly owned subsidiary of Pact and a community interest company registered in England and Wales