WE ARE A MAGAZINE ABOUT LAW AND JUSTICE | AND THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE TWO
February 02 2023
WE ARE A MAGAZINE ABOUT LAW AND JUSTICE | AND THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE TWO

New government scheme to protect victims from unwanted communication from prisoners

New government scheme to protect victims from unwanted communication from prisoners

Pic: Patrick Maguire
Untitled: Patrick Maguire

Prisoners will no longer be able to contact victims of domestic abuse from prisons as a result of a new £200 million Unwanted Prisoner Contact Service scheme under the government’s Domestic Abuse Plan. The scheme is a collaboration with police forces, prison governors and victims’ services, and will invest in victim support and tackling perpetrators. It will create a ‘single hub’ for victims and support agencies ensuring a speedier response by dedicated case handlers.

The scheme will act automatically on intelligence to contact prisons and ensure no offender is able to send further communications. Victims will no longer need to request authorities’ assistance personally when they receive threatening phone calls or letters from prisoners. Instead, the supporting agencies will take the initiative and react more effectively to bar victims’ contact details.

The service will remove any possibility for imprisoned offenders to physically dial their victims’ number from prison landings or send out letters to their addresses. It will also prevent prisoners from using their inmates to contact victims through blocking victims’ details from all prison phones.

“This new service delivers on our commitments in the national Domestic Abuse Plan and will protect victims once their cowardly abusers are jailed. Hundreds of victims came forward to request contact was blocked,” commented Damian Hinds, Minister for Prisons and Probation.

“Unwanted contact from offenders is frightening and stressful. It can stop victims from moving on with their lives and, particularly in cases of domestic abuse, is often used to intimidate victims and continue campaigns of abuse,” echoed Diana Fawcett, Chief Executive of Victim Support.

Further implementation of the Domestic Abuse Act will continue to recognise all forms of abuse beyond physical violence. New offences will be introduced for non-fatal strangulation and ‘revenge porn’. Measures will also be adapted to prevent self-represented individuals from cross-examining alleged victims in family and civil courts.