A family member's story

I was extremely nervous and apprehensive when I approached the Support Group venue for the first time, I had no idea what to expect or how I would be received. On my arrival, I was greeted immediately and welcomed, very warmly by the group organisers, Alan and Helen.

I was introduced to other people as they arrived and was made to feel completely at ease and relaxed.

Although this was an informal meeting, the atmosphere was very calm and caring and Alan and Helen were attentive and sympathetic to my feelings. I was introduced to another client whose father was incarcerated in a prison in the same country as my son, so we had a common connection. 

I was overwhelmed by the buoyant, supportive atmosphere which was completely non judgemental.  As the meeting progressed, clients shared the experiences of their loved ones and explained how they coped being separated from them. Everyone was so very kind and reassured me that I did not have to face this intolerable burden alone, nor should I feel responsible or guilty for my son's actions. 

I am so very grateful to have found this organisation. This inexplicable situation is far beyond anything I could have possibly imagined I would find myself having to confront. Without the amazing support of the 'Prisoners Abroad' charity I have absolutely no idea how I would be able to face the future of my son's imprisonment. I feel so reassured that I can contact Alan and Helen at anytime knowing they are there to listen to me, support me and offer me help is so comforting. I now know I'm not alone.

I have been assisted in contacting the detention centre where my son is held and they have sent him contact information and writing materials too. 

Alan continues to support me and is in frequent contact by phone. This charity is unique and is literally a lifeline for the relatives of prisoners abroad who find themselves faced with the stigma and shame of having a family member incarcerated in a prison in another country, without any knowledge of how to contact them or help them. Prisoners Abroad are there to offer invaluable help and emotional support as well as financial assistance too.

I left the meeting feeling elated, reassured and knowing I was not alone, that there were other people in a similar situation to me. I also connected with one of the clients who lives near to me and we agreed to keep in contact and travel together to the next event.

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.