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Policy and Practice Change

We aim to be proactive rather than responsive, and to continuously push for better understanding and support for all Survivors. In order to deliver lasting change for Survivors, it is essential that we deliver both policy and practice change and work with Survivors to ensure their voices lead the change.

We use the term ‘policy’ in a broad sense to represent public facing work which promotes structural change. And we use the term ‘practice’ to represent the interventions and service delivery methods used by governments, public institutions and other organisations and charities. 

HOW WE MAKE CHANGE

We use the experience and expertise of our clients, staff team and volunteers to 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. 

As a result of our learning, research and success with clients, we activate and initiate policy and practice change, so more Survivors are helped. 

OUR POLICY AND PRACTICE CHANGE WORK

Globally we are driving best practice, and policy change on the safeguarding and support for Survivors of trafficking to prevent re-exploitation.

We are determined to provide the best research in order to influence policy change. When policy is changed we see the positive impact on all Survivors. The Helen Bamber Foundation has a highly valued and influential voice on human rights and support for Survivors, which is based on our clinical expertise and our all encompassing care. We are completely committed to caring for people who are facing the most challenging situation of their lives. We seek to ensure that Survivors are no longer vulnerable or face the risk of re-exploitation. 

Globally and in the UK we are fighting for improvements in access to interventions that help address trauma and mental health difficulties and strengthen protection for all Survivors. 

Through our evidence based research we have improved access and treatment for Survivors’ mental health needs. For example research has proven that Narrative Exposure Therapy works for Survivors as it helps individuals’ contextualise multiple traumatic experiences. The Helen Bamber Foundation’s Trauma Informed Code of Conduct is designed for all professionals working with Survivors. 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. 

In the UK we are pushing for improved decision making, by changing the way evidence is received and dealt with at all levels of asylum and modern slavery proceedings. 

It is absolutely vital that when Survivors encounter the UK authorities they are treated in the best and most appropriate way. At the Helen Bamber Foundation we are working to ensure the practical incorporation of the newly revised UK Slavery and Trafficking Survivor Care Standards and the Trauma-Informed Code of Conduct into the UK Government’s Victim Care Contract. 

Also, we are increasing the evidential weight that Medico-Legal Reports are given within the Home Office decision making process. It is of paramount importance that Medico-Legal reports are at the forefront of the decision making process. They are pieces of evidence which can clearly document what Survivors have been through and help authorities understand exactly how vulnerable they are. 

In the UK we are fighting for changes in the asylum system that mean vulnerable Survivors are better protected and heard.

We are working to ensure vulnerable adults are appropriately identified from the outset of their asylum claims. It is important that their specific needs are recognised as early as possible in order to lower the risk of detention and ensure that they have access to the right care and rehabilitation support. At the Helen Bamber Foundation, we have contributed to a partner document to go alongside the UK Slavery and Trafficking Survivor Care Standards, which specifically addresses how vulnerable Survivors need to be treated within the asylum system. 

Strategic litigation is a collaborative method we use that brings about significant changes in the law, practice or public awareness. We have and continue to take certain cases to court in order to help and protect Survivors of trafficking and torture. For example, recently, we supported a legal challenge to stop the Home Office deporting people without taking the appropriate measures to see if they were Survivors of trafficking. 

We also compiled several witness statements with regard to inadequate or inappropriate accommodation including impact it has on those with mental health concerns. This can have severe repercussions for Survivors of trafficking and torture. 

IN 2020 WE HAVE SUCCEEDED IN...

Finalising a comprehensive guidance document which explores the legal protection rights for those with a disability or complex medical needs. This document identifies gaps and shows how we can help Survivors in the current unpredictable legal system. 

Our medical and legal experts have co- authored a document on Survivors fitness and ability to give evidence and mental capacity in immigration proceedings. 

We have provided case studies for joint publications highlighting what the current barriers are for Survivors accessing Universal Credit. 

In partnership with the charity Migrants Organise we have led an NGO-sector campaign on immigration reporting requirements. 

We led a collaboration with Freedom from Torture on the use of remote hearings in Tribunals and issued recommendations about maintaining high standards of fairness during the Covid-19 public health crisis. 

Our legal team has supported a call for grants of leave to remain and additional support to Survivors of modern slavery and human trafficking during the Covid-19 public health crisis. 

In response to the Covid-19 public health crisis we have supported cross-sector housing and support calls for Survivors. This includes a call to increase housing support rates and a call for adequate NASS accommodation with an end to room sharing so as to promote social distancing. We have also worked to give clients access to WiFi and phones to reduce isolation and promote access to information.

We have brought together a coalition of clinical charities and specialists including Freedom from Torture and Doctors of the World to look at the inappropriate use of a former military site to house Survivors. Including preparing a ‘clinical voice’ policy letter which works to show how this accommodation has serious potential health and equality implications.