A young mum whose partner was jailed for assault has made a booklet to help other people navigate the criminal system.
Becky* was 13-weeks pregnant when her partner Matt was arrested and subsequently charged with assault.
It was the first time either of them had ever come into contact with the police or been inside a court room. She found the whole experience incredibly daunting so set about writing a book giving advice to other families.
‘I want to help other families who like me are the forgotten victims of crime, and let them know they are not alone,’ said Becky, 26. ‘It’s important for people to know there is a huge prison population in this country, that’s potentially ninety thousand families being affected, and a lot of those people are suffering in silence.’
Becky’s nightmare began three years ago. Matt had gone out for drinks with friends while she was visiting family hundreds of miles away. He messaged to say his phone battery was running low and jokingly apologised for any drunken texts he might send later.
But the next day Becky could not get hold of him. Then she got a call from his mum saying Matt had been arrested.
‘I was pregnant and vulnerable so they were trying to protect me,’ Becky recalls. ‘They knew a lot more than what they were letting on. It wasn’t until the following day I found out he had been charged with assault. I was devastated, he is just not that sort of person.’
Matt was on bail for a year while police and solicitors worked on the case. During that time Becky gave birth to their daughter and the couple attempted to carry on with life.
When their daughter was four months old Matt pleaded guilty to the offence and was remanded in custody to await sentencing. A month later he was sentenced to two-years in prison.
Without Matt around to help with childcare, Becky was forced to give up her job as a logistics manager, a move which resulted in her losing her accommodation and having to move into a mother and baby unit.
Visiting Matt was tough. She craved information on what to expect and found there was little out there for people like her.
With this in mind, Beck teamed up with Fixers to create a booklet titled A Journey Forward; Dealing With A Loved One In Prison. It offers advice on what to expect from the moment someone is charged with an offence and includes how to go about re-establishing a normal life after release. Click on the image below to read the book.
‘There is such a massive taboo with prisoners and their families,’ Becky said. ‘They are tarnished with that brush. There is no doubt he made that girl’s life hell for some time, but in his actions he made our lives hell too.’
This project was funded by the Blagrave Trust.
*Names have been changed to protect Becky’s identity.
To find other resources on this topic, and watch Fixers films, click on the image below.