Children and the law guides for women prisoners


57% of women in prison report having been victims of domestic violence. More than half (53%) report having experienced emotional, physical or sexual abuse as a child compared to 27% of men. There are strong links between women’s experience of domestic and sexual abuse and coercive relationships, and their offending.

When women are sentenced to a term of imprisonment, their caring responsibilities for their children are rarely taken into account and the consequences can be life altering for the children they leave behind. Research suggests that only 1 in 20 children whose mother is sent to prison each year is able to stay in the family home.

Maintaining links with their children in important for the health and well-being of both the mothers and children. We have been working with the Prisoners Advice Service on a joint project aimed at increasing the availability of family law advice for women in prison. Our aim is to improve the ability of women in prison to enforce their rights and increase access to justice.

We have been training PAS’ Women Prisoners’ Caseworker to deliver outreach clinics in six prisons in England.

With the help of women at HMP Send and HMP Bronzefield, we have developed four legal advice guides specifically aimed at women in prison.

You can download PDF versions of our guides here:

Children and the law – Parental responsibility

Children and the law – When families cannot agree

Children and the law – When social services are involved

Children and the law – Adoption for women prisoners


If you would like a hard copy of any of our guides posted to you or work for an organisation that would like access to copies of our guides, please contact us at

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Useful links

Prisoners’ Advice Service

Women in Prison

Birth Companions

Family Lives

Family Rights Group

Prison Advice and Care Trust (PACT)



Prison Reform Trust



Howard League for Penal Reform



Contact us at:

Rights of Women,
52-54 Featherstone Street,
London, EC1Y 8RT.
Administration: 020 7251 6575