Who can help me?
Getting the right support usually involves telling someone what has happened – sometimes called disclosing. But it’s understandable that often people might want to put this off.
You might be worried about being rejected or judged by the person you tell or the impact on them, and even about problems at work. But not disclosing can have its own costs.
Partners may feel stressed by keeping such a secret and feel guilty that they are unable to tell those important to them. This can lead to physical and mental health problems, including loss of sleep and appetite, anxiety and depression, social withdrawal, and time off work, which in turn creates other stresses.
In our experience, for partners whose circumstances mean that other people are told about the arrest, these problems can reduce more quickly as they have discussions with, and receive support from, trusted family and friends. Research suggests this is key to coping better. So, if possible, don’t struggle in silence.
The experienced advisors on our confidential helpline can support you. You don’t have to give your real name, location or any contact details. If you’re not ready to speak to anyone yet, you can also get in touch with us online.
When to get support
Sometimes just talking to someone close to you about how you are feeling can be enough. But if any of these points below applies to you, you might benefit from talking to a professional:
- persistently (for weeks or months, rather than days) having difficulties with eating and or sleeping
- drinking more alcohol than usual or drinking alcohol more frequently
- frequently crying
- low mood affects your ability to go about daily activities
- persistently unable to go to work due to how you are feeling
- becoming socially isolated (avoiding family and friends)
- difficulties with separating thoughts and reality
- loss of interest in the things you used to enjoy
- persistent feelings of fear or anxiety
This list doesn’t include every problem or sign. If you have any persistent changes in your mood, thoughts or behaviour that don’t improve after a few weeks, then check them out with your GP.
Support for partners
Partners or family members sometimes find it useful to gain support from a close family member, friend or colleague, a family doctor or counselor.
We would encourage partners and other family members to try and identify someone they could get some support from, while also being clear that this is not something that needs to be disclosed to everyone in their lives. It is important to choose a person you can trust and you feel will be able to offer you that support.
Support and information for adults
The confidential Stop It Now! helpline (0808 1000 900) is there for anyone who concerns about child sexual abuse prevention, including those concerned about their own thoughts and behaviour, those worried about another adult or child and parents or professionals calling for advice.
Parents Protect is a child sexual abuse prevention website, designed for parents to find important information and resources to help keep children safe online and offline. It has a sexual abuse prevention learning programme, which covers online safety, warning signs of abuse and what to do if you suspect abuse.
The Prisoners’ Family helpline (0808 808 2003) supports people where a family member has arrested or cautioned in England and Wales. They provide advice and support on all aspects of the justice system, what happens after arrest, visiting prisons and preparing for release.
The Family Rights Group provides support and advice to families about their rights and options when social workers or courts make decisions about their children’s welfare. They work with parents whose children are in need, at-risk or are in the care system.
Support and information for children
Childline provides a free and confidential helpline (0800 1111) for children to discuss any issues they might be experiencing. Their website has useful information as well on personal and online safety, how to deal with challenging emotions and where they can get help.
Kooth is an online wellbeing community that provides young people with access to counsellors for free and anonymous support. It also has helpful articles and tips from peers and their team and discussion boards to share experiences with those in the Kooth community.