Arrestee Welfare - Extinction Rebellion UK

Arrestee Welfare

Introducing the Arrestee Lifecycle

We need to create a framework of support that can inform a robust contemplation process before a decision about arrest is made, that feeds into the individual’s preparation for arrest and then supports the arrestee during and following arrest.

Furthermore, we need to dispel the myth that there is such a thing as arrestable and non-arrestable in our activist culture. Being involved in a civil disobedience movement bears some degree of risk of arrest, be that low or high. Our collective role is to help create a culture of preparation and knowledge to allow us to make informed choices around our actions.

We encourage all XR members, affinity groups and local groups to engage with the arrest cycle below and to join us in creating a regenerative arrest culture.

How can the Arrest Welfare Team help?

Please choose a topic in the drop down menu below to access the resources and links we have that can support individuals and groups in this process.

Contemplating Arrest?

Rebellion requires sacrifice. An act of shedding the norms of a destructive and violent system and stepping in to our vision of a compassionate and healthy future. Sacrifice comes from the latin root words sacra and facere i.e. ‘to make sacred’. With self sacrifice comes individual responsibility – inform yourself, make your own decisions and prepare the support you will need.

A sacred act is one that is connected to the truth, and in XR that is the foundation of what we do: we Tell The Truth and we Act from that place. We encourage all rebels to make the decision to engage in an action free from coercion, by looking at our own personal values and rationales. We may do this alone and in groups but it is important that we spend time examining our motivations and connecting to them before then placing these motivations within the context of our lives and considering in detail the consequences that arrest would hold for us.

The RISE CWUP process is an aide to addressing the issues in the contemplation phase. Please follow these links and use them to support you and your group in this process.

Read the RISE CWUP document Watch the RISE CWUP video (password:risecwup)
Preparing for Arrest

Preparing for arrest is a collective and individual endeavor and will look different for every rebel. It is especially important that all XR affinity/local and action groups consider arrest preparation as their responsibility and ensure that they develop an Arrest Welfare system.

This will include encouraging members to revisit the contemplation phase and engaging with personal preparation. In addition, there is a clear need to facilitate and encourage attendance at the key arrest preparation trainings to organise in-action support when designing actions, and to ensure that you are ready to provide post-arrest support.

Please pay special attention to the consequences of arrest when preparing. A good place to start is to take a look at the fun Arrest Prep Infographic. Click on areas of interest or concern and it will take you to more detailed info. You can also read the most up to date and more comprehensive XR Legal Briefing and Common Charges document.

For non-UK nationals

Read ‘Arrest and Immigration Status’ on the website
Talks, Trainings and Resources


Introduces individuals and groups to the steps recommended for robust pre-arrest preparation.

Read the RISE CWUP Document Watch the RISE CWUP video (password:risecwup)

Arrest Preparation – Legal team document

Read the ‘Arrest Preparation’ document

Non Violent Direct Action Training

The NVDA training helps you to find out how to take part in Extinction Rebellion actions. The training covers the practice of non-violent techniques: showing you how to de-escalate tense situations, how to interact with the police and what to do if you get arrested and much more.

XR Legal Advice and Resources

Please look at the Legal Team’s page on this website for essential legal guidance:

Go to the Legal Info page

Green and Black Cross Website

Go to the Green and Black Cross website

Know Your Rights Written Guidance

There are some recent amendments in the Policing and crime act 2017 s159-163, which may not be reflected in this booklet and it is important that we bring them to your attention. The links take you to the most recent information and this supercedes anything in these printed materials.

  • An arrestee who is suspected of not being a UK national can be required to state their nationality and provide documentation. This practically removes their ability to be anonymous but isn’t automatic, it’s an offence not to “if required to do so”. (section 159 Policing & Crime Act 2017)
  • It is now an offence for a defendant in court to not give their name,
    date of birth and nationality if required to do so. Contrary to what
    those squatters got away with a couple of years ago, there is no
    anonymity after court proceedings have begun. (section 162 Policing & Crime Act 2017)

IN ADDITION, since going to print GBC has now restructured.
The GBC website is still active:
For updated contact details:
LDMG is now Activist Court Aid Brigade:

Read the GBC know your rights booklet

Further Green and Black Cross Know Your Rights Written Guidance

Guide to the arrest process Guide to the post-charge legal process Guide to the prosecution process

Other Resources

Read Pre-Action Check- in for Buddies and Anchors Watch Back Office and Police Station Support Training Video (password:elephant) Watch Witnessing an Arrest Video

Arrestee Welfare During an Action

During an action, Arrest Welfare makes sure there are police station support rebels to greet arrestees when they’re released from police stations. This requires back office coordination and a carefully managed flow of information from site to police station, to back office. It’s essential we know who’s been arrested so we can offer post arrest support. 

Providing arrest support during an action also requires proper planning in the preparation phase (see Preparing for Arrest dropdown on this page above).

Here are resources common to the Preparation Phase:

XR Legal Advice and Resources

Go to our legal info page for essential legal guidance

Green and Black Cross Website

Go to the Green and Black Cross website

Know Your Rights Written Guidance

See the Talks, Trainings and Resources dropdown on this page above for details.

Other Resources

Watch Back Office and Police Station Support Training Video (password:elephant) Watch Witnessing an Arrest Video

Post Arrest Support

We have a collective and personal responsibility to support our arrestees. In doing so we are both extending care and compassion to each other, and sustaining our movement.

Post Arrest Liaison (or PAL Support) can provide signposting to the above resources and also offers a sympathetic ear through telephone contact. Please let us know by writing to if you wish us to arrange a PAL for you. Place ‘PAL Request’ in the subject heading.

You can email if you have any questions post-arrest. For legal-related ones email Also go to for collectively sourced materials to support you from XR and others who have been arrested.

Here are resources and support for Arrested Rebels:

Love Letters

We’d like to let you know how much the whole XR rebel community values your stand. Your actions have been absolutely key to how we’ve moved the national conversation forward since the International Rebellion. We’ve received many messages of love, gratitude and support from across the movement to those who put themselves forward for arrest or were arrested without aiming to be. We’re really happy to share some of these messages with you now. We hope you enjoy reading them.

Read XR love letters on flipsnack website

Post Charge Legal Process

Read the Green and Black Cross Post charge legal process document

Trained Emotional Support Network

We are able to support your self-referral to a Trained Listening Therapy Network who have offered their time free to XR arrestees. Please see our TESN page for more information.

Telephone Support

We have a network of Post Arrest Liaison’s (PALS) who are able to offer telephone support to arrested rebels and help signpost to the arrest support resources. They can also provide logistical help with organising accommodation and travel for court appearances. If you would like us to arrange this for you then please contact

Court Travel Costs

You are able to reclaim money spent on court related travel. Please e-mail for information on the process

Accomodation for Court Appearances

We can provide accommodation for you if you have to travel to London for a court hearing. Please write to if you want us to arrange this for you.

Volunteering For The Arrest Welfare Team

We are grateful to everyone who gave and continue to give their love and energy to the Rebellion. The consideration, connection and mutual support that shone through in April and October is now needed to support all those that were arrested, charged, and are currently being charged, as well as those who will face arrests in future actions.

In order to build a sustainable and resilient framework to support our arrestees, there are several roles that we would love volunteers for.

Police Station Supporter: This volunteer attends police stations following arrests in order to greet arrestees on their release. Arrestees can be kept for up to 24 hours, so a rota that covers stations day and night is organised. If you are interested in being available for this task, email

Post Arrest Liaison: A volunteer who contacts arrestees after release from the police station and in the lead up to court appearance to offer practical and moral support.  As this is phone contact, the role can be carried out from anywhere in the country! If you are interested in being available for this task, email

Court Support: A volunteer who attends court to offer moral support to arrestees/defendants on the day of a plea hearing and/or trial. They are also then able to collect information about the outcome so that XR has an overview of numbers, charges and conclusions of the arrest process for each Uprising and the Rebellion overall. If you are interested in being available for this task, email


I’m not interested in being arrested, why should I get involved with Arrest Welfare?

We are all involved in civil disobedience and rebellion because we think it is necessary for the world we want to create. Civil disobedience leads to arrests but for many involved in XR, being arrested may not be possible or desirable.  Any support you are able to give to XR is very useful. Arrest Welfare allows everyone to play a part in the movement in the many ways we outline.

Can I be involved with Arrest Support without getting arrested?

Yes. The Arrestee Lifecycle illustrates the many elements that contribute to the preparedness of an arrestee. The emotional, practical and legal preparation undertaken by a rebel contemplating involvement in an action require support at every stage and ensures that the infrastructure that has been put in place is effective, robust and connected with the aims of XR.

Can I change my mind about being arrested?

Yes. Being arrested impacts each of us in different ways, and this decision must be made free from any coercion. It is for this reason that we encourage pre-action training.  

Go into actions with the awareness of their unpredictable nature, and be prepared and comfortable to adjust your actions to avoid being arrested.

How can I support my friend who wants to get arrested?

The training offered at the pre-action stage supports a rebel in taking personal responsibility for their actions. However, we also have a role in supporting those who are willing to be arrested on our behalf. All are welcome and the trainings will help prepare people supporting others through the process. We strongly recommend that rebels reach out to their community and friends for support  before they are arrested as the arrestee journey can be long and difficult.

It would be helpful if you attended a RISE CWUP training as this will support you in helping your friend through the decision making and preparation stages of an arrest.

If your friend has already been arrested please look carefully at this site and familiarise yourself with the resources available so that you are better able to signpost to the relevant help. If you have any specific queries or needs please write to us at

Can I help with Arrest Welfare without going to the site of an action?

There are several roles that can be played away from the site of an action or Rebellion sites, and are valuable to Arrest Welfare. These roles take you through the Arrestee Lifecycle. You can for example, provide pre-action support by helping us train rebels or by reaching out to your own Local Group to see how they are addressing Arrest Welfare.

During an action, the Police Station Support role has no risk of arrest and is a great way to take part for those who can’t or don’t want to be on site. There are provisions to join back offices remotely.  Email

Additionally, there are several Post Arrest Roles that can be filled remotely. Rebels from previous Rebellions are being supported by Post Arrest Liaisons (PALs) from the point of arrest through to their court appearances and may need guidance and assistance with the logistics of preparing for this. Please see the Post Arrest Support dropdown on this page for more information.

What Arrest Welfare roles are low-risk of arrest?

Please see above.

I’m not in a local group, can I still be involved with Arrest Welfare?

The central Arrest Welfare Team are recruiting! Please see the section on Volunteering, or write to us at

Are you interested in forming a local or regional Arrest Welfare group?

Please write to with subject line: ‘Support to form a local/regional AS group’.

We need a decentralised Arrest Welfare Team to support arrestees! This ensures that an arrestee is supported by their local or regional group, and that the Arrestee Lifecycle begins, ends and continues within the community. You only need 2 people to start your own local arrest support group – an arrest welfare supporter and an arrested person! So don’t be intimidated.

And remember that in Arrest Welfare we don’t give legal advice, we only signpost.


See the live ‘Arrest Welfare and Legal Support’ Training schedule

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