Modern Slavery Newsletter – 18th June 2020

 
18 June 2020
 
Dear Stakeholder,

This newsletter provides an update on:

 

Changes to the financial support rates provided by the modern slavery Victim Care Contract
 
From the 1 July 2020, the following changes will be introduced to the financial support available for potential and confirmed victims of modern slavery through the Victim Care Contract (VCC):

  • Increasing the weekly payment to those in outreach support i.e. those not accommodated by the Home Office, or through the VCC, from £35 to £39.60.
  • Increasing the weekly payment for child dependents from £20.50 for the first child and £13.55 for each additional child, to £39.60 per child.
  • Introducing new additional weekly payments for very young children:
    • £5 per week up to the child’s first birthday
    • £3 per week from the day after the child’s first birthday until their third birthday.
  • Introducing new weekly payments of £3 for pregnant women.
  • Introducing a new one-off maternity grant of £300 per expected child, for an individual who is within eight weeks of their expected due date or who enters support with a dependent child of less than six weeks old.

As is already the case, where an individual is also receiving support from the asylum support system, they will not receive any additional financial support from the VCC in respect of child dependents, or pregnancy and maternity payments (subject to the below paragraph) as these are met through asylum support.

Where an individual is eligible to access the Sure Start Maternity grant, they should apply under that scheme and would not be eligible for the VCC maternity grant.  However, if an individual receives less than they would from the VCC maternity grant from either the Sure Start Maternity Grant or the asylum support maternity grant, a further top up payment would be made from the VCC to ensure that the individual receives a total of £300 per expected child.

These changes will be communicated directly with those who are affected, and will be reflected in an updated version of the Modern Slavery Action 2015: Statutory Guidance for England and Wales from the 1 July 2020.

The Victim Care Contract aims to lift victims of modern slavery out of exploitation, providing them with specialist support to enable them to rebuild their lives with increased resilience against future exploitation. This change is the first step in delivering a needs-based financial support policy. Over the coming months, the Home Office will engage with Victim Care Contract providers and key stakeholders and make further improvements to the current system to ensure the financial support is focused on individual victims’ needs, including helping victims to transition to other more suitable services to help aid recovery.

Accommodation
 
To help ensure the safety and support of individualduring the COVID-19 pandemic receiving support from the Victim Care Contract, and in line with Public Health England guidance, we announced on the 6 April that all individuals accommodated by the Victim Care Contract would not be required to move on from their Government-funded accommodation for a period of three months, and that this policy would be reviewed at the end of June 2020.

This temporary guidance is currently being reviewed and next steps will be announced shortly.

 
The Vulnerable Children National Charities Strategic Relief Fund
 

The Home Office and the Department for Education have recently launched the £7.6 million Vulnerable Children National Charities Strategic Relief Fund. This fund is aimed at large, national Voluntary Community and Social Enterprise organisations that provide services to safeguard vulnerable children in England and Wales and who have suffered financial hardship due to COVID-19. The intention is to help sustain services at risk of reduction or closure, as well as support those experiencing increased demands and delivery pressures at this time. Further details on eligibility and the application process are available here.

This is part of the £34 million funding earmarked by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport, the Home Office and the Department for Education for supporting children’s charities during the COVID-19 crisis and is one of several initiatives that have sprung from the £750 million funding to the voluntary sector that the Chancellor announced in April 2020.

 
The Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority
 
The Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority (GLAA) have continued a business as usual approach to their work to protect vulnerable workers from exploitation during the COVID-19 pandemic. Licence inspections are being carried out by phone, and visits continue to be carried out where necessary.

During the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, the GLAA introduced a temporary licensing scheme to support the demand for labour in the food sector to protect vulnerable workers and to ensure critical food supply was able to run as smoothly and safely as possible. The scheme was always intended to be time-limited and as businesses have now made sufficient arrangements to safeguard against labour shortages in the food sector and the demand for temporary licences has stabilised, the GLAA took the decision to suspend the scheme from the 1 June 2020. The GLAA will continue to keep the situation under review.

The GLAA also teamed up with Crimestoppers to run an awareness campaign to educate job-seekers about fake recruitment adverts on Facebook targeted at young Romanian men seeking work in the labour/construction industry in the UK. By placing its own adverts on Facebook, the GLAA appealed to those searching for work. Once a user clicks on the adverts it redirects them to a Crimestoppers webpage, full of information on identifying risks when seeking employment in the UK construction industry. The campaign was targeted at Romanian men between 18 and 34 years and reached over 900,000 people. GLAA noted a 13% increase in reports relating to modern slavery.

You can read more on the work of the GLAA through their latest newsletter here.

 
A case study from The Salvation Army
 
The Salvation Army is continuing to work within COVID-19 restrictions to support victims of modern slavery as they become more self-sufficient, through a network of safe houses and outreach support. We wanted to share with you an example of how support has been adapted in light of issues raised by COVID-19.

After a survivor of modern slavery became concerned for her elderly parents’ wellbeing during the coronavirus restrictions in her home country of the Philippines, and specifically the ability of her parents to access food, The Salvation Army were able to use their global network to check up on the family and deliver food.

Local Programme Coordinator, Melpo Economou, who helped arrange the support explained: “I made the call and was genuinely amazed at the speed at which The Salvation Army’s global networks were able to be mobilised.

“Within a week, I received an email and photos from local Salvation Army officers in the Philippines reporting that they had visited the family to check on them and provide them with supplies of rice, canned goods, noodles and milk. The email also brought a message of reassurance that my client’s parents were doing well and that The Salvation Army officers would be available to provide help in the future if needed.”

When Melpo explained what had happened and showed her the photos, she received this reaction from her client: “I am really happy to have this experience in this country. I never expected this in my life. I have a lot of lovely people in my life here who give me support. Thank you.”

Melpo continued: “It was so powerful and touching for me to realise that something like this is possible. This news has made such a huge difference to my client’s emotional wellbeing.”

 
 

Where there is a concern about an individual case, this should be raised directly with The Salvation Army Contract Management Team by email to [email protected]. Please provide the individual’s written consent to the enquiry being made on their behalf, along with their full identity details (name, address, date of birth) and unique ATT reference number, if known.