From a video by PACT
Many churches are involved in visiting prisons and also working with ex-offenders and their families. 200,000 children are affected by parental imprisonment each year.
Not all of these, by any means, experience a home raid by the police but this is the story of one child, Ollie, and shows the impact on children who do experience a home raid.
"It all started in November 2010 when my house was raided. I was about 12 by that time. It was about six, seven, in the morning and the doorbell rang, the gates were thrown open and the police came barging in. I was asleep and they threw duvet off my bed and told me to stand up. I was confused, I was scared and so many thoughts were wandering through my mind. Why are they here? What are they doing here? Have I done something wrong? Has someone done something wrong? I was unsure what was happening and I felt scared. I was scared of the police at this time because I felt like I was being treated like an animal.
"They told me to get off my bed, they shoved me in a room and told me not to move off the sofa. It was like I had done something wrong. So then, I was told I had to go to school, I was still unsure what was going on, I was confused. I went to school. So many things were going through my mind, whether people were going to ask questions like, 'Why were the police at your house?' 'Why were there so many vans outside your house?' 'Why were there dogs running around your house, police dogs?'
"I just didn't know how I was going to respond to these questions and I was still scared of what was going to go on when I returned home, I was confused on why the police were even at my house. It wasn't until later that day when I returned home to find out my dad had been arrested. At this time I was still confused and I didn't know what was going on. Every part of me just blew up, I felt like I've no life left in me, I felt dead and I was upset. There's no words to explain how I felt. I just felt mentally sick and confused, I just wanted to cry."
Here is Ollie's story in a 2 minute video:
This blog should not be construed as having a go at the police. They have a job to do and one needs to see the responsibility of the parent for what occured. However, you can see the trauma/stress that Ollie suffered. Having a family member who has been jailed is one of the ACEs - Adverse Childhood Experiences that can lead to health issues in later life - see a previous blog here.
PACT is a charity, supported by the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales, working in prisons and communities across both nations. As well as being involved with local authorities, police, etc., they also are involved with Catholic parishes, religious orders and other Christian denominations and faith groups who share their mission to support prisoners and their families to make a fresh start.
They offer a range of support, information, online resources and one to one/group sessions for children and young people who have a family member in prison. They can also provide guidance and training to organisations working with young people who have been affected by this issue. There is a guide here. Could they help train your people involved in schools/family ministry/youthwork? More details here.
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From a video by PACT, 17/05/2017