All visits for young people in the secure unit will be subject of ongoing risk assessment and this may therefore be dealt with on a number of different levels, from an unsupervised visit located within the unit, to a supervised visit conducted within the interview room out-with the unit.

The decision on the nature of the visit will depend on a number of variables and risk factors. The only exception to this arrangement will be respect of professional visitors to the unit, e.g. Dentist, GP, Lawyer or Social Work Staff as they may request to see a young person on their own.

However, it is further recognised that visiting professionals may require support when visiting the young person; again this will be subject of risk assessment and discussion before the visit. 

Parents/guardians will be asked to inform the unit in advance of proposed visits to allow planning and allocation of resources.

  • Visitors must not arrive unexpectedly as they may not be able to be accommodated a visit at that time but this cannot be guaranteed; however this would be the exception rather than the rule. It must also be explained to visitors that there may be delays while arrangements for such visits are made. The Duty Officer and Control Room staff must be consulted on these occasions in an attempt to allow the visit to go ahead if at all possible.
  • Visitors will be received in the interview rooms and under normal circumstances will not have access to any other part of the unit; however, risk assessment outcomes may permit young person’s visitors into the living units, young person’s bedroom, quiet room on the unit, education, recreation and the courtyard.

The visiting area will be thoroughly checked by staff dealing with the visit for contraband after visitors have departed and before the visiting area is made available for its normal use by young people.

It will be possible under certain circumstances for visitors to have access to the courtyard. Any arrangement to allow visitors this facility must first be conveyed by the Unit Manager/ Assistant Unit Manager and confirmed the Duty Officer and Control Room staff.

  • All members of a young person’s immediate family will be welcomed as visitor’s normally two adults and their younger children. Visits from extended family or friends must be cleared via a Manager and the relevant Social Worker before the visit can go ahead. (See individual young person access list)
  • With the exception of emergency situations all visits must be organised at least 24hrs in advance and all visitors must be on the young person’s access / visitors list, if this is not the case, then the visitor may be refused access due to safety and security reasons.
  • Cats, dogs or other pets will not be allowed into the unit unless arranged prior to the visit.
  • All articles brought in by parents or carers will be handed to the control room staff via the parcel transfer system at the control room, thus removing the responsibility of the member of staff supervising the young person’s visit. The control room staff will thoroughly search the item(s) prior to forwarding the items or monies to the unit on completion of the visit. Prohibited or controlled articles will be held separately and returned to the visitor to take away, staff should be mindful that sometimes articles are secreted inside of packages; therefore careful consideration should be taken when checking these items.
  • Visitors to the unit will be asked to leave all belongings etc in the lockers provided before entering the Secure Unit for which they will retain the key and return to control when exiting the building. Staff should ask visitors to adhere to the prohibited items list.

These measures are to ensure no dangerous or prohibited articles are placed in a unit toilet accessible to young people.

Visitors Guide

St Mary’s Kenmure is committed to making young people’s visiting as easy and relaxed of an experience as possible.

Visiting Times 

The times when you may visit your child is usually between 4.00pm-8.30pm Monday to Friday (due to young people attending education) with the weekends, holidays and special occasions/requests being more flexible. More information about visiting times can be explained by any staff member on request.

How to arrange a visit 

We operate a telephone booking system at St Mary’s Kenmure with the names and details of all visitors informing the young person’s authorised visitors list.

What you must bring to a visit 

If you are visiting for the first time who should bring with you an approved form of identification such as a passport or driving licence. It is advisable to check with St Mary’s Kenmure to confirm which forms of ID are acceptable.

What types of visit are available at St Mary’s Kenmure? 
  • Supervised visits
  • Unsupervised visits
  • Professionals and significant other visits
  • High risk visits supported by CCTV
Where are visits held?  

All visits will initially take place in the young person’s visiting room’s out with the young person’s living unit. All visits initially will be supervised with the possibility of visits moving to be within the young person’s living unit supervised and or following a clear risk assessment moving to unsupervised.

How many visitors are allowed?  

Up to two adults and any accompanying children should normally be allowed on a visit up to a maximum of 5 people at any time. Additional adults visiting should be through prior arrangement and the visit can be organised to accommodate this by splitting these visit or giving more time.

Are children allowed to visit?  

Yes, however all visitors under the age of 18 must be accompanied by an adult.

Help with visiting  

In certain situations, visitors will receive help with travel costs from St Mary’s Kenmure. However, support to visit is the responsibility of the placing Local Authority.

What can a visitor expect when visiting? 

You will receive a warm welcome from the Control Staff on entry to the Secure Unit. The Control Room Staff member will establish who it is you are visiting and inform the unit of your arrival. You will be reminded that you are entering a secure area and asked to familiarise yourself with the prohibited items list.

You will be given a locker key in exchange for any other key i.e. car keys, house keys with the reverse being the process on leaving the building. You will be asked to secure all your belongings in the locker for safekeeping i.e. hand luggage and all pocket contents in preparation to enter the visit. The Duty Officer/Control Staff before taking you through to the visit will confirm you have secured all your items in the locker. The locker key will be kept with you throughout the visit.

St Mary’s Kenmure has a zero tolerance approach to drugs and any other potential dangerous items and any visitors who attempt to give young people drugs will face prosecution.

What you can give young people when you visit? 

Please observe the prohibited items list, a copy of which can be given to you on request if you are unsure about any items you wish to bring up for your child, you should contact the Control Room Staff/Duty Officer/Unit Staff direct for advice.

No confectionary, food stuff etc. will be accepted into any visit and you will be asked to take the items home at the end of your visit. All permitted items such as clothing will be subject to an individual search before being allowed into the unit. All electrical equipment permitted and acceptable as a suitable appliance for a young person’s room will be subject to an electrical PAT test and will only be allowed entry after passing this test.

If you wish to give your child money you should hand this over to the Control Room Staff and you will be given a receipt for the money.

Christmas/birthdays and any other special occasions you wish to celebrate with your child by giving gifts can be arranged. However, all gifts must be unwrapped as all gifts will be subject to vetting and searching. Following clearance all gifts can be re-wrapped if wrapping paper is provided.

Special Requirements 

It is advisable for visitors with special requirements, such as prescribed medication which they need to take in to the visit, wheelchair access or a hearing loop, to inform St Mary’s Kenmure when booking their visit. This is to enable St Mary’s Kenmure to make suitable arrangements in advance of the visit. Disabled parking is available for easy access.


Other ways to keep in touch

Keeping in touch with family members at St Mary’s Kenmure is very important and aside from visiting, there are a number of other ways of keeping in touch.


Young people are allowed to send out letters with postage paid by St Mary’s Kenmure and receive letters and correspondences.

Telephone Calls 

Young people’s telephone access is subject to the relevant Social Worker and young person approval list. All young people’s telephone access is monitored with staff dialling the number requested subject to the approval list and the call is then transferred to the young person’s telephone area in the unit.

Young people are allowed to make two 10-minute telephone calls on an evening subject to an approval telephone list. Additional telephones calls are permitted in special circumstances to keep in touch.