Welcome to the Offenders’ Families Helpline website
This website has information for families on all aspects of the criminal justice system in England and Wales from arrest through to release.
For help or advice please contact the Helpline on 0808 808 2003 (freephone: including most mobiles). The helpline is open 9am – 8pm Monday to Friday and 10am – 3pm Saturday and Sunday. Please note the helpline is closed on Bank Holidays.
Find out what happens if a family member has been arrested
You can find lots of information on this website about what to expect if a member of your family is arrested from what it means if they are charged, how bail works, to their rights in custody. The information provided on this website aims to help you understand what will happen next and explain the terms and processes you may come across in your journey through the Criminal Justice System.
You can also find advice on what to expect if your family member has to go to court with support on how to find out which court they will go to, what to expect at the court as well as what happens when someone is remanded in custody.
When someone is sent to prison it can affect the whole family. For the prisoner, being separated from family and friends can be one of the most difficult aspects of their sentence. Here you can find information and advice on what to expect when you visit a prison, how to arrange a visit, what happens when a prisoner is transferred, advice about what you can take to a family member in prison as well as lots more information.
If your first language is not English there is a translation service available when using the Offenders’ Families Helpline. Please ring the helpline and they will be able to assist.