Supporting Offenders and their Families

The Thames Valley Partnership has had a long-standing interest in supporting practitioners who work with the children and families of offenders and prisoners.  By encouraging multi-agency working and bringing Criminal Justice agencies ‘into the loop’ with family support services through training, networking and providing resources the Family Matters programmed  developed a model which enables this vulnerable group of families to be supported in a more integrated manner.

In 2011, new three year funding from the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation enabled the Partnership to expand this crucial  work under a new programme – Family Approaches.  Subsequently, in 2014  we received continuation funding from the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation in addition to funding from the Kelly Family Trust and the Laing Charitable Trust to further embed this work into mainstream practices.

The aims of the work  remain the same however:  to support the resettlement of  offenders and break the cycle of offending within families through:

      • Improving access to support and provision of information for the families and children of offenders and prisoners
      • Integrating the work of the criminal justice agencies and family and children’s services in support of  these vulnerable families
      • Strengthening family ties of prisoners to aid their re-integration into their family and community where appropriate

Kelly Family Trust logoLaing Family Trusts

The Partnership continues to support and nurture new networks, deliver practitioner training, influence strategic thinking and raise awareness around this theme.  However the Family Approaches programme has developed this further with the introduction of  volunteer staffed crisis intervention desks, to support families affected by imprisonment at the point of sentence in the Crown Courts across the Thames Valley.

For further information on the work of Family Approaches  and how your local area can make a difference in supporting the needs of the families of offenders please contact  a Family Matters support worker on 01844 487985 or email us at



Building Bridges Project launched on Monday 5th June.

We are pleased to announce the launch of Building Bridges, the Oxfordshire Housing Project for Offenders and their Families. This is a small pilot project, funded through the Oxfordshire Offender Housing Liaison Project, at the heart of which is the proposition that an offender’s family, where appropriate, could be the key to meeting the accommodation needs of offenders in Oxfordshire.  We will specifically target  the needs of offenders returning to Oxfordshire being released from custody (HMP Bullingdon only for the pilot period) and Oxfordshire offenders seeking to engage with family and return home. Read more …

Well Done Family Matters!

The Family Matters project has been successful in an application for funding from Buckinghamshire County Council’s Families First team. Families First is Buckinghamshire’s approach to the national ‘Troubled Families’ programme and focusses on providing intensive support to families affected by a range of issues including worklessness, poor school attendance and criminal involvement. This funding will enhance our work in Buckinghamshire by providing a range of services to enable the families of offenders to be better supported.

Support for Family Matters

Lord Blair of Boughton (now Patron of Thames Valley Partnership) was personally able to support the Families Left Behind campaign at the Lords in June 2014 – when the second reading of the Criminal Justice and Courts Bill took place.

Lord Blair spoke for approximately 10 mins in all – during which time, amongst other topics raised, he highlighted the lack of support for prisoners’ families, and particularly for the children. A copy of the extract can be found in our  Newsletter July 2014.  We hope you enjoy reading.

Workshops & Training

We offer multi-agency workshop training introducing the key facts and issues surrounding prisoners’ families and enabling delegates to gain an insight into the emotions and feelings of prisoners’ families.  We encourage […]

Family Court Desks

The Partnership has continually pioneered new ways of supporting families and sustaining family ties particularly prior to, during and after prison sentences.  Our team maintain a court desk support service […]

Highlights and Achievements 2006-2014

We’ve come a long way..

Find out more about New Leaf

Resources for Supporting Offenders and their families

Here are lists of our publications and other resources for people supporting offenders and their families.

Bottom Up and Top Down – Family Matters Conference March 2014

The day showcased the work of the Family Matters project over the preceding  three years by disseminating findings from the Evaluation of the newly established Court Desk service. We heard from areas where there are examples of good integrated practice across Thames Valley and were also joined by colleagues providing us with the current national context and latest developments.  The event was well attended by key leads from the Criminal Justice agencies and Children’s and Family Support services:  A selection of material:

Family Approaches to the Criminal Justice System – Exec Summary (Dr Sam Wright March 2014)
Patsy Townsend (Thames Valley Partnership)
Family Approaches to the Criminal Justice System
Family Matters at Woodhill Prison
Tim Carter (Barnardos)



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