Migrants, particularly those with insecure immigration status, have for a long time been direct victims of multiple crimes, while at the same time facing many barriers that render them unable to report such crimes, access the Criminal Justice System (CJS) and receive support from the police and other statutory agencies. In recent years, we have seen increasing levels of mistrust in the CSJ amongst migrant communities. Owing to the increased internal immigration controls within the provision of services that characterises the hostile immigration policy, this fear has expanded.
We believe that to improve victims’ experiences of the Criminal Justice System, the Victims’ Law has to ensure the needs of marginalised communities are met. From the point of reporting to the police, accessing support up to engaging further or not with criminal proceedings. In order to do that, it is key that the legislation recognises the specific experiences and needs of different groups of victims. A genuinely transformative Victims’ Law must ensure that no one is discriminated against because of their protected characteristics and immigration status.
For the Victims’ Bill, it is imperative that the Government puts in place effective safe reporting mechanisms and ends data-sharing policies when victims approach the police and other statutory services. Failing to ensure victims with insecure immigration status can access the CJS will prevent it from delivering justice to those who have committed a crime. Furthermore, it will exacerbate public harm as offenders remain unpunished and free to abuse other women.
Read our full response here.