Clause 42 - Guidance about identifying and supporting victims

Part of Modern Slavery Bill – in a Public Bill Committee am 2:00 pm ar 14 Hydref 2014.

Danfonwch hysbysiad imi am ddadleuon fel hyn

Photo of Karen Bradley Karen Bradley The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department 2:00, 14 Hydref 2014

My hon. Friend makes an important point. The provision is so much broader and wider. It is never going to be perfect, but we need to improve what we do across the board with all the bodies that might come into contact with victims. As we have said before, we cannot even begin to start to stop the crime without the victim. We need to find and help victims. It is only when we help victims that we can start to get the information to catch the perpetrators, making it clear to everybody that modern slavery has no place in Britain. The statutory guidance in clause 42 is vital to ensure that we start that education process as quickly and efficiently as possible, and that we do not accept what until now has been the position, which we all agree has not been sufficiently robust.

Clause 42 is an important provision to ensure a consistent and standardised approach to identifying potential victims and ensuring that they get the right support and assistance to move on with their lives. The statutory guidance will form a crucial part of our overall work to ensure that more front-line officials are aware of the indicators of modern slavery so that more victims are rescued from horrendous abuse. Once identified and rescued, it is essential that victims are appropriately supported so that they can start to rebuild their shattered lives. As hon. Members are aware, the Home Secretary commissioned a review of the NRM earlier this year to  ensure that our system for referring, assessing and supporting victims is working as effectively and supportively as possible.

I want to put on the record that nobody is saying that the NRM is currently working. The NRM was introduced to meet a demand at that time, but our knowledge of the crime—the treatment of victims and what they go through—has moved on so much in the five years since the NRM was introduced that we all acknowledge that it needs to change. There are many points about the NRM that we know need to change.

The shadow Minister asked who would receive the guidance and whether it would be limited to public authorities or issued more widely. The NRM review will consider the issue of guidance and which organisations should be provided with guidance in full. However, I would expect the review team to take a view that guidance should be issued as widely, comprehensively and practicably as possible. The statutory guidance under clause 42 will be issued to public bodies such as the police, local authorities and NHS professionals so that they can effectively identify potential victims and know what to do when they do.