Our Personal Video Visits hotline has supported nearly 80 families to stay connected with loved ones in prison, despite COVID-19 restrictions, in just its first month of operation.

Corrections Victoria temporarily suspended in-person prison visits in March to protect people’s health and safety during the COVID-19 pandemic.

It set up a Personal Video Visits program to replace in-person visits, and engaged VACRO to provide families with technical support through a free-call hotline.

Key points:

  • In-person visits at prisons in Victoria are temporarily cancelled
  • Corrections Victoria has set up a video visits program to replace in-person visits during the COVID-19 pandemic
  • Our support hotline helps families fix problems with their video call software and connect easily with their loved ones

In April, our Family Support Officers gave 97 consultation to 77 families, and responded to every single request within 24 hours of receiving the call.

VACRO’s CEO, Marius Smith, said VACRO’s previous experience in delivering online family visits programs meant our team knew what family members needed.

“Talking to a loved one via video can break down the physical barrier and bring people together,” he said. “And we know that when families are in the comfort of their own home, the conversations can often be richer and deeper than conversations in a crowded hall.”

VACRO previously ran a video visits program for families in 2018 and 2019, which enabled people with family members at Tarrengower Prison to remain in touch during their sentence.

Strong family bonds are known to be one the key factors in reducing a person’s risk of reoffending after release from prison.

VACRO will continue to deliver technical support to Corrections Victoria’s Personal Video Visits until in-person prison visits resume.

More information

Corrections Victoria contacting a prisoner