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Policy and Practice Change

It is essential that we deliver policy and practice change and work with Survivors to ensure their voices lead that change.

We use our combined expertise and learning to deliver meaningful change to law, policy and practice change, improving the asylum and trafficking systems to ensure that all Survivors have the strength to fly.

The experience and expertise of our clients, staff team and volunteers means we understand what needs changing and where our collective voice can have the biggest impact. We create briefings, provide witness statements, write reports and lead research to provide an evidence base for what works. We also deliver and provide technical advice, training and in-person support and supervision in order to support and enable others to change their practice. 


Securing systemic change for Survivors in  a hostile climate is difficult.  Yet when policy is changed for the better, whether the change is small or large, we see an impact on more Survivors than we can help one to one. The Helen Bamber Foundation has a highly valued and influential reputation on human rights and support for Survivors, which is based on our clinical expertise and our all-encompassing care.

In order to ensure that Survivors are no longer vulnerable or face the risk of re-exploitation we:

* Use our authoritative medico-legal expertise, alongside evidence from frontline work and research, to secure ongoing policy change,

* Work collaboratively with others in the sector to deliver systems change,

* Support the Survivors we work with to advocate for the change they want to see, and

* Bring, or support, strategic litigation to change the law.

We are working towards the following goals:

Legal protection for all Survivors - ensuring that Survivors of trafficking and torture are identified, that asylum decisions are quicker and of a better quality, and that all survivors have fair access to protection through quality legal advice.

A safe and supportive environment - an end to the use of mass institutional accommodation and the detention of Survivors of torture and trafficking, and the provision of quality housing and appropriate financial support to ensure survivors can recover from trauma and rebuild their lives.

Recovery and integration - ensuring that all Survivors are offered timely access to appropriate healthcare services and evidence-based specialist therapeutic care, are granted leave to remain in the UK that provides the security and stability necessary for them to rebuild their lives. and are able to access education, training and employment.


Through our evidence-based research we have improved access and treatment for Survivors mental health needs. For example, our research has proven that Narrative Exposure Therapy works for Survivors as it helps individuals contextualise multiple traumatic experiences.

Our UK Slavery and Trafficking Survivor Care Standards and Trauma Informed Code of Conduct is designed for all professionals working with Survivors and referred to in the governments Modern Slavery Statutory Guidance. Globally we are driving best practice, and policy for Survivors of trafficking to prevent re-exploitation.  Working with a panel of international trafficking experts, including survivors leaders we led the drafting of the Organisation on Security and Cooperation in Europes revised handbook on National Referral Mechanisms.

We have delivered training to the NHS, trafficking advocates (including Survivor advocates), the police, and outreach services working under the UK Government Contract, as well as other statutory bodies and agencies. This training enables us to support Survivors treatment and better aid their recovery.

Working alongside Survivors, we are seeking to help change practice at the Home Office and working with them to improve decision making by changing the way that evidence is received and dealt with, particularly Medico-Legal Reports.


Through ongoing engagement with the Home Office, we have trained caseworkers and improved guidance on the use of medical evidence in decision making.  We also helped push the Home Office to introduce telephone (instead of face to face) reporting, resulting in significant positive changes for survivors.

Working collaboratively with clinical charities, including Medical Justice and Doctors of the World we have highlighted the harm caused to survivors housed in the military barracks. We provided oral and written evidence to the APPG on Immigration Detentions inquiry into Quasi-detention; evidence for a parliamentary debate on asylum seekers mental health; and research on the impact of accommodation centres on the health of people seeking asylum. Our evidence was a key part of the successful legal challenge to the use of Napier Barracks.

We published comprehensive guidance document which explores the legal protection rights for those with a disability or complex medical needs and how we can help survivors in the current unpredictable legal system. 

Our response to the Greater London Authority (GLA) consultation on adult education, training and employment helped secure strong commitment from the GLA to Improve coordination of English for speakers of other languages (ESOL) and fully fund courses for asylum seekers.

We intervened with Detention Action in the Supreme Court case of TN Vietnam which looked at the poor identification of vulnerability in the detained fast-track and how negative decisions taken under that unlawful process should be treated now.

We increased the understanding across both Houses of Parliament of the devastating impact the new Nationality and Borders Act 2022 will have on survivors of trafficking and torture, and have secured significant improvements to the guidance accompanying the Act.