This week in Parliament Fiona contributed to a debate on the Nationality and Borders Bill. Fiona's speech, regarding the need for greater support for victims of modern slavery is below;
"I wish to speak briefly in support of the proposal made by my right hon. Friend the Member for Chingford and Woodford Green (Sir Iain Duncan Smith) in lieu of Lords amendment 26, to which he referred in his impassioned speech. Disappointingly, it cannot be voted on today. If we are to break the business model of the criminal gangs behind modern slavery, we have to increase the number of successful prosecutions. One of the most effective ways to do that is to enable more victims to participate in the pursuit of justice by sharing intelligence and acting as witnesses. Evidence from programmes such as Justice and Care’s victim navigator programme shows that when given wraparound support over a longer period more victims develop the confidence to engage with criminal investigations; 89% of Justice and Care’s supported victims engaged with police at the last published evaluation, which compared with the national average of about a third.
I welcome the commitment that the Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department, my hon. Friend the Member for Redditch (Rachel Maclean) gave on Report that “all those who receive a positive conclusive grounds decision and are in need of tailored support will receive appropriate individualised support for a minimum of 12 months.”—[Official Report, 8 December 2021; Vol. 705, c. 427.]
However, to provide victims with the certainty and stability they need, this extended support should be included in the statutory framework.
The Government have taken the positive step of putting support for modern slavery victims in law for the first time in this Bill, but clause 63 is limited to support during the initial recovery period during the national referral mechanism. The Bill offers no support to victims after the point at which someone has been formally recognised as a victim. The Government have already committed to doing this for a minimum of 12 months and it would be a simple matter to add that commitment to the Bill, giving a more comprehensive picture of the full range of support available, and providing victims with greater certainty and stability for their recovery as a result. I hope that Ministers will support the intent behind the amendment in lieu tabled by my right hon. Friend, and I note the Minister’s comment today that the Government are very willing to take these concerns away and have discussions with my right hon. Friend and, I hope, others. I also hope that the concern about the importance of putting the 12-month period into statute will not only be taken away, but acted upon."