Alex Cunningham – 2014 Parliamentary Question to the Home Office

The below Parliamentary question was asked by Alex Cunningham on 2014-04-10.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, whether the pilot scheme for advocates will be independent of local authorities.

Karen Bradley

In January 2014 the Home Office announced proposals to trial specialist,
independent advocates for trafficked children which is due to begin this
summer. This trial forms part of the Government’s work to eradicate modern day
slavery and as such there are no plans for this trial to be extended to
unaccompanied children.

The Child Trafficking Advocate will be fully independent from the local
authority, but will need to work with the existing structures around the Child
Trafficking Victim, such as children’s services, education, criminal justice
system and immigration system.

The advocate role is intended to deliver the best outcomes for children. The
advocate’s role will include the following activities but this is not an
exhaustive list and we expect the advocate to respond to the specific needs of
the child.

• being a consistent point of contact for the Child Trafficking Victim;
• assisting the local authority to assess the needs of the Child Trafficking
Victim as a victim of trafficking, thereby promoting the safety and wellbeing
of the Child Trafficking Victim (in particular in light of the risk of
• making recommendations for referrals to other services (e.g. mental health
services) to ensure the Child Trafficking Victim receives educational, medical,
practical and legal support they need and deserve;
• accompanying the Child Trafficking Victim to certain meetings – e.g. with an
immigration lawyer;
• supporting the Child Trafficking Victim in any age assessment process;
• supporting the Child Trafficking Victim in overcoming language and cultural
• supporting witnesses through the criminal justice system;
• supporting looked after children and children in need through the care
system, in particular in safety planning, age assessment and future planning;
• assisting the local authority to plan for the Child Trafficking Victim’s
future and receive any compensation that they may be entitled to;
• helping prevent the Child Trafficking Victim from facing further exploitation
or harm from traffickers (and the risks of going missing);
• providing advice on immigration, criminal justice and welfare matters to the
Child Trafficking Victim and arranging effective legal representation;
• involvement in the key decisions relating to the Child Trafficking Victim
(but final decisions would remain the responsibility of the local authority or
Home Office, where relevant).

The Home Office is commissioning an independent evaluation of the trial which
will report six months after the trial commences. The evaluation will include
the terms of reference for the trial.