Northamptonshire Police: 'Victims of domestic abuse will always take priority over upholding immigration law'

Police are amending the way domestic abuse victims are dealt with in the event they have an insecure immigration status

Wednesday, 17th March 2021, 6:28 pm
Updated Wednesday, 17th March 2021, 6:30 pm

Northamptonshire Police made a statement today (March 17) saying that they will be changing the way domestic abuse victims are dealt with if their immigration status is insecure.

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 that domestic abuse and being a victim of crime will always take priority over upholding immigration law.

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Police practices are changing so domestic abuse victims are always prioritised over upholding immigration laws.

A spokesperson for Northamptonshire Police said: "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."

This comes after human rights organisations, Liberty and Southhall Black Sisters raised concerns that victims and witnesses with insecure immigration statuses may be deterred from seeking help.

There is not a policing process in place which dictates that officers and staff should share immigration concerns with the Home Office. Northamptonshire Police added: "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."

Visit Northamptonshire Police's domestic abuse page for advice and information.