Dame Sara joins the Prime Minister’s Hidden Harms Summit
The Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner joined the Government’s first ever summit on hidden harms on 21 May 2020. Led by the Prime Minister, the summit focused on how to tackle crimes, such as domestic abuse, sexual abuse, child sexual abuse and modern slavery, which may have been impacted by the coronavirus lockdown.
Reflections by Dame Sara, the Domestic Abuse Commissioner, the Children’s Commissioner and the Victims’ Commissioner can be found in a resulting policy paper.
Dame Sara raised the additional vulnerabilities and barriers to support faced by some survivors of modern slavery, such as those who are from ethnic minorities and those who are migrants, and noted that equal access to services and support must be ensured.
Excerpt from Dame Sara's session:
“Additional government funding to charities has been welcome but many smaller charities with highly precarious finances are struggling during the pandemic – particularly those which support BAME victims and survivors. There is widespread concern that backlogs in the criminal justice system will result in a weakening resolve to take cases to court. Moreover, lengthy delays in proceedings deter witnesses and make it less likely that they will give evidence – particularly vulnerable victims of human trafficking. This is surely an opportunity to use more technology for remote hearings and to extend the piloting of pre-trial recorded interviews and cross examinations of vulnerable witnesses.”
You can read the full policy note here.