Prisoners’ Families Helpline Volunteer

The Prisoners’ Families Helpline provides support to loved ones of those affected by the Criminal Justice System across England and Wales.

N.B. before you read on, we are operating a waiting list so if you are happy to be added to the list please register your interest and let us know in the notes section, after which we shall endeavour to make contact directly.

Purpose of this role:

To provide advice and information to family members, friends, prisoners and professionals by responding to incoming telephone calls. You will respond to queries by providing direct information, signposting to other relevant organisations and making referrals to Pact colleagues as well as other family support services such as Barnardos, Spurgeons and Nepacs.  Below are a few examples of calls received on the helpline:

  • Trying to find out which prison someone has been sent to.
  • Concerns regarding the wellbeing of a prisoner.
  • How to keep in contact with someone in prison.
  • How to send money to someone in prison.
  • What to do after someone has been arrested.
  • What support is available to someone after release from prison.

Time commitment & location:

This role is being offered remotely, so you will need to have access to a laptop/computer, a smart phone and an internet connection. A quiet working environment is also required.

Time commitment: We expect volunteers to commit to working a minimum of one shift per week, for a period of at least 6 months.

The helpline is open 7 days a week, 9am-8pm Monday-Friday and 10am-3pm on weekends. The shifts we have available are as follows:

Monday – Friday: 9am-1pm,1pm-5pm or 5pm-8pm.

Weekends: 10am-3pm.

(You can also work multiple shifts, so please let us know)

What you will be doing:

  • Answering daily telephone calls, providing information and guidance.
  • Escalating any urgent/imminent safeguarding calls with the prison.
  • Making referrals and signposting to Pact colleagues and other external organisations.
  • Updating an Excel spreadsheet logging all calls taken.
  • Communicating with other colleagues on shift as well as Shift Supervisors.


The type of person we are looking for:


  • Working on a helpline or experience of talking to people on the phone in a professional capacity.
  • Working in a team.
  • Handling sensitive data.

Skills / Abilities:

  • Listening
  • Empathy
  • Determination
  • Teamwork
  • Verbal & written communication skills
  • Good I.T. literacy


  • Empathy
  • Non-judgemental
  • Can-do attitude
  • Flexible
  • Genuine desire to help people

What we offer:

Training: you will be required to undertake our Safeguarding and Professional Boundaries training online, as well as attending our role-specific Helpline training via Zoom. You will also have access to various other training modules on our new eLearning platform.

Checks: this role is subject to two satisfactory references.

Support and Supervision.

We will provide a full induction and regular supervision to support you in the role.


  • Accessibility
  • Age restrictions
  • DBS check required
  • Equal Opportunities Policy
  • Expenses reimbursed
  • Health and Safety Policy
  • Ongoing support
  • Training provided
  • Volunteer induction
  • Volunteer Policy
  • Volunteers covered by insurance
  • Written role description

When can I volunteer?

Start Date: 18/06/2021

End Date: 18/06/2022

Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat Sun
Morning No No No No No No No
Afternoon No No No No No No No
Evening No No No No No No No


This opportunity can be carried out whilst working from home.

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