Nicola’s partner is in prison in Japan. Since his arrest, communication with him has been almost impossible.

It was just a situation I never expected to be in, or never expected to hear. Didn’t know why it had happened, didn’t know why he had done it. No one could answer the questions for me, you know.

Couldn’t tell a soul, didn’t want to tell a soul, especially with it being a drugs offense, it’s like drugs is a no no, drugs are so bad, only my family knew, my mum and dad and my brother. I didn’t tell any of my friends, I never confided in anybody.

I was absolutely lost, it was like: who do I talk to about this? Where do I go from here? It was alright talking to my family, but even my mum said to me, I really don’t understand what you‘re going through, I know what you’re going through but I just don’t understand it.

So I did give him a call and that was it. I can’t remember what the first call was, I probably just cried on the phone, but they were great, and just listened, and the best thing about it was they were no judgemental, and you expect people to judge you, whoever you talk to, but these guys don’t. There’s nobody else out there that can give you support when you feel so lonely, who do you turn to? This is the only group I know of, that are there.

I’m in the middle of applying for a travel fund from Prisoners Abroad, which can pay for a bit of my ticket, which can give me a bit of hope to go and see Sam. So without that I wouldn’t even be able to see him. Prisoners Abroad offer so much more than you actually imagine they do.

Combating stigma helps reduce isolation.

Prisoners Abroad helps family members affected by a loved one’s imprisonment by providing one to one support as well as hosting family support groups around the country and arranging overseas visits.