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Joint call for Gov't to end hostile environment policies

PICTURED: The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan

THE MAYOR of London, Sadiq Khan, and the capital’s Victims’ Commissioner have called on the Home Secretary to urgently act to protect victims of crime with insecure immigration status.

Work carried out by Claire Waxman, London’s first Victims’ Commissioner, has highlighted cases of victims who are too frightened to report crimes and forced to remain in abusive relationships due to their immigration status.

The government’s hostile environment policies are leading to vulnerable people being denied access to much-needed services and facing significant risk of being unlawfully detained.

Ms Waxman has been working closely with women and girls directly affected by domestic abuse who have experienced barriers to support as a result of their immigration status. Both the Mayor and the Victims’ Commissioner are clear that the government must take action to support the victims of abuse and Sadiq has today written to the Home Secretary Sajid Javid.

Victims' Commissioner Claire Waxman

The Mayor and the Victims’ Commissioner have jointly called for:

- The reinstatement of legal aid for immigration cases to ensure those with insecure status can access independent advice and support

- Victims of violence to be entitled to financial support and safe accommodation in order to leave an abusive relationship, irrespective of their immigrations status

- Operational guidelines on how to respond to victims with insecure immigration status, including prioritising safety and support over immigration offences.

Ms Waxman has been gathering evidence by speaking to victims in her first year as London’s Victims’ Commissioner, underpinning her ongoing commitment to ensure victims are at the heart of the criminal justice system, that no victim fears coming forward to report crimes and all victims can access the support and services they deserve.

Claire Waxman, London’s first Victims’ Commissioner, said: “Both the Mayor and I are clear that all victims of abuse must have full confidence to report crime and their abusers to ensure justice is done, no matter what their status might be.

“I have put forward a series of measures the government should implement immediately so that no victim ever fears having to come forward and they know they will have proper access to support and justice.

“My primary focus as London’s first ever Victims’ Commissioner has been to champion and defend the interests of victims, to ensure their voices are heard and I am committed to doing everything I can to help them get access to a transparent, fair and inclusive criminal justice system.”

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