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Breaking Barriers


An estimated 310,000 children every year have a parent in prison in England and Wales and 10,000 visits are made by children to our public prisons every week

Ormiston Families' Breaking Barriers is a non-judgemental, early intervention service providing support for children and young people affected by the imprisonment of a close family member.

Through offering tailored one to one support Breaking Barriers aims to reduce anxiety around prison, support emotional wellbeing and assist in engagement with school.

We work in schools, family homes, or wherever a young person feels safe, to help them come to terms with the emotional trauma.

By providing a safe space for them to talk, play and express themselves, we enable children and young people to explore their feelings and break down some of the barriers which may prevent them from maintaining positive ties with their imprisoned family member or relative.

As well as helping children and young people cope with separation from a loved one, there is evidence that prisoners who maintain ties with their children are less likely to re-offend, and the children themselves are less likely to become involved in offending behaviour.

Our Breaking Barriers team can also provide talks and presentations to teachers, social workers, police officers and other professionals, to help them understand the ‘hidden sentence’ which is often endured by children and young people with a parent or family member in prison.

Watch a short film about our Breaking Barriers service for children affected by imprisonment.

Read the Cambridge Institute of Criminology's evaluation of our Breaking Barriers service.

More resources

If you would like any extra information about dealing with imprisonment of a close family member we have a few information sheets to help:

What to tell the children

Visiting prison

Being a carer to a child affected by the imprisonment of a close family member

Being a parent in prison 

Contact us

To make a referral, book a talk or for a general discussion about the service, please contact the Breaking Barriers worker in the area in which the affected child or young person is resident:


T: 01473 724517
E: Click here to email