Pact National Services



*Please note due to the number of applications received, we are now operating a volunteer waiting list so if you would like to be added to the waiting list please proceed with your application and we will be in contact with you.*


Prisoners’ Families Helpline Volunteer


About this service

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


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 currently being offered remotely, so you will be expected to carry out your role from home. Therefore, a good internet connection and a quiet working environment is essential.


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

(If you wish to work multiple shifts, 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



Skills / Abilities


Working on a helpline or experience of talking to people on the phone in a professional capacity


Working in a team


Handling sensitive data




















Verbal & written

communication skills


Good I.T. literacy







Can-do attitude




Genuine desire to help people



What we offer



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.



This role is subject to:

  • 2 satisfactory references


Support and Supervision

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


Benefits to you 

  • Make a huge difference to prisoners and families
  • Gain valuable experience and a strong awareness of the Criminal Justice System
  • Gain practical skills and experience
  • Develop skills and enhance your CV for future employment / volunteering opportunities
  • Join a great team of supportive, respectful and caring individuals


Next steps

If you'd like to find out more information about this role before applying please contact or to apply for this role please click 'Fill in an application'.