Sophie’s story

Sophie* was referred to Alana House’s Enrich programme in 2022 after being arrested. She had assaulted her son and another member of her family and as a result, her son was removed from her care and temporarily placed with his grandmother. Following her arrest, she was assessed by a Support Time Recovery (STR) worker from the Berkshire NHS Liaison and Diversion team and referred to Alana House through the Out of Court Disposals pathway.

At first, Sophie felt extremely anxious and overwhelmed at being referred to Alana House. Through the L&D service, STR workers are able to provide up to six weeks of support. This meant Sophie’s STR worker was able to attend an initial visit to Alana House with her to help her feel more comfortable and find out about the support Alana House can offer.

Following the referral, Sophie was assigned an Alana House support worker through the Enrich programme, who worked with her to identify her needs and create a support plan. Her key support needs were: accommodation, mental health, domestic abuse, attitudes, thinking and behaviour, and children and family support.

For the first few weeks, the Alana House support worker met regularly with the STR worker to share information. When the STR worker’s six weeks of support came to an end, Sophie continued receiving support from Alana House without feeling anxious about the change.

Sophie was initially encouraged to attend two groups at Alana House, a domestic abuse recovery group and a parenting course, however she found this challenging. Sophie is currently awaiting an assessment for Autistic Spectrum Disorder/ADHD, and it was decided that group work was not the right type of support and one-to-one work was more appropriate to her needs.

Although she would have preferred to continue with the group sessions, Sophie dealt with this difficult conversation well and continues to engage in regular one-to-one sessions with her support worker.

Through these sessions, the support worker aims to empower Sophie to make positive changes in her life. Sophie and her son have decided to change their names, and the support worker will help Sophie with the application to make these changes legal. She has also been referred for counselling at Alana House to improve her mental health.

The support worker has been attending Sophie’s Child in Care meetings with her, as well as court hearings for the local authority’s Interim Care Order application for her son. Sophie finds it difficult to manage her emotions, which may be connected with her undiagnosed autism or ADHD, and as a result she finds these meetings stressful and they sometimes have to be adjourned. Sophie is benefitting from having someone with her at these meetings to advocate for her and keep her focused on the outcomes she desires.

Through the Alana House Enrich programme, Sophie will continue to receive support to enable her to achieve positive outcomes for herself and her family.

* Name changed for confidentiality

About Out of Court Disposals

The NHS Liaison and Diversion (L&D) services identify people who have mental health, learning disability, substance use or other vulnerabilities when they first come into contact with the criminal justice system.

In England, every woman arrested and entering custody is assessed by someone from their NHS L&D team to provide appropriate support and, for less serious offences, enable them to resolve the crime without going to court, which is known as an Out of Court Disposal.

Alana House works alongside the local L&D team and Thames Valley Police to enable women with complex needs to be diverted to Alana House through an Out of Court Disposal. Through their Enrich programme, Alana House then works with these women, providing holistic, trauma-informed support to empower them to make positive choices in their lives and reduce their risk of re-offending.

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