Ministry of Justice
Thousands of survivors to be protected from prison abusers
Under a new scheme, survivors will be better protected from domestic abusers who attempt to continue their campaign of terror from behind bars.
- new scheme to thwart domestic abuse campaigns from behind bars by blocking unwanted calls and letters from prisoners
- delivers on the government’s Domestic Abuse Plan
Under the scheme, police forces, prison governors and victims’ services will work hand-in-glove to automatically block offenders from calling or sending threatening letters to their victims.
The new Unwanted Prisoner Contact Service – trialled at Kent and Thames Valley earlier this year – will act immediately on any intelligence to contact jails and block offenders from sending further communications.
In practice, this will mean offenders will be physically unable to dial their victim’s number from the prison landings or send out letters to the victim’s address as these contact detail will automatically be barred.
Crucially, the new scheme means survivors will not have to ask for help themselves, with other agencies and support services able to contact the service on their behalf – protecting them from further trauma.
By creating a single hub for police victims and support agencies, the new service will ensure a speedier response with dedicated case handlers quickly locating offenders and blocking contact. It will also prevent abusers from using other offenders to torment their victims by barring victims’ contact details from all prison phones.
Minister for Prisons and Probation, Damian Hinds, yesterday said:
We will never tolerate domestic abusers who seek to continue their campaign of abuse from behind bars and will always take tough action against the prisoners responsible.
This new service delivers on our commitments in the national Domestic Abuse Plan and will better protect victims once their cowardly abusers are jailed.
During successful pilots, hundreds of victims came forward to request contact was blocked - showing the new model is more accessible and effective in identifying and protecting victims.
Diana Fawcett, Chief Executive of Victim Support, yesterday said:
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.
We welcome steps to make it easier and quicker to take action and hope that this will make a real difference for victims.
The move delivers on the cross-government Domestic Abuse Plan which sets out investment of £140 million to support victims and £81 million to tackle perpetrators.
The government also continues to implement the Domestic Abuse Act which recognises all forms of abuse beyond physical violence, introduces new offences for non-fatal strangulation and so-called revenge porn, as well as preventing abusers from being able to directly cross-examine their victims in family and civil courts. The vast majority of measures are now in force.
Notes to Editors
Requests to block contact can be made by the victim, on behalf of the victim with their consent, or by police, probation, victim services, friends, or family members of the victim without their consent. Each case will be assessed individually.
Last year we passed our landmark Domestic Abuse Act 2021, alongside a comprehensive action plan of other non-legislative measures.
For the first time in history, we now have a general purpose legal definition of domestic abuse which emphasises that domestic abuse goes beyond physical violence, and includes emotional, coercive or controlling, as well as economic abuse.
This is in recognition of the devastating impact different forms of abuse can have on victims’ lives.
On 30 March 2022, we published the cross-government Tackling Domestic Abuse Plan.
Latest News from
Ministry of Justice
Thousands more victims to avoid trauma of courtroom cross-examination under plans to boost barrister fees01/02/2023 09:10:00
Vulnerable victims in up to 4,600 cases involving crimes including sexual abuse and rape will be able to avoid giving their evidence in a full courtroom every year according to new estimates from the Ministry of Justice.
Update on changes to transgender prisoner policy framework25/01/2023 16:10:00
Further information on the changes we are making to our transgender prisoner policy framework.
Data governance panel formed to improve use of court and tribunals data25/01/2023 11:15:00
A senior data governance panel will provide independent expert advice on the use of justice data across courts and tribunals.
Youngsters to take up football, boxing and rugby in £5 million bid to cut crime23/01/2023 11:25:00
Thousands of troubled teens to benefit from cash boost to local sports groups.
Record number of neighbourhood criminals tagged to cut crime19/01/2023 15:20:00
The number of people tagged has reached record highs following the government’s drive to use technology to make streets safer.
Law to recognise children born as a result of rape as victims for the first time19/01/2023 14:20:00
Children born as a result of rape will be officially recognised as victims of crime and receive better support under changes announced by the government today (19 January 2023).
Enforcement Agent (Bailiff) Fee Review 202318/01/2023 13:05:00
Reviewing the fees that enforcement agents (bailiffs) can recover when enforcing debts and fines.
Increased interest rate on the Court Funds Office special and basic accounts16/01/2023 10:10:00
The interest rates were increased for Court Funds Office special and basic accounts on 16 January 2023.