Domestic abuse investigations - changes to police practices
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Northamptonshire Police is amending the way domestic abuse victims are dealt with, in the event they have an insecure immigration status.
This comes after Liberty and Southall Black Sisters raised concerns that victims and witnesses with insecure immigration status may be deterred from seeking help.
As a result of new recommendations, there will be an immediate change in police practice to allow a separation between the response to a victim’s report of domestic abuse and the handling of their immigration status.
This means domestic abuse and being a victim of crime will always take priority over upholding immigration law.
Where officers only have concerns or doubts about the domestic abuse victim’s immigration status, they will not share information with Immigration Enforcement.
Information will only be shared with the Home Office if there is a genuine need and it will improve the safeguarding possibilities for the victim (for example. the Forced Marriage Unit).
There may still be a reason to share intelligence in certain circumstances for the protection of people or the public interest, however upholding immigration law will always come second to supporting and safeguarding a victim of domestic abuse.
There is not a bespoke process which dictates officers and staff should share immigration concerns with the Home Office. If this has occurred, it will have been at the discretion of the officer on a case-by-case basis, without any foundation or direction.
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