The University of Birmingham’s Jenny Phillimore responds to the House of Lords Debate on Homes for Ukraine Scheme as the Lords intend to debate the government plans.

Professor Jenny Phillimore, Lead Researcher of the Sexual and gender based violence in the refugee crisis: from displacement to arrival (SEREDA) of the University of Birmingham says:

“The International SEREDA project which looked at forced migrants’ vulnerability to sexual and gender based violence including trafficking found that the longer women are without access to housing and resources, the longer they wait for refuge and the longer their journey to refuge the more vulnerable they are to SGBV. We do not need a lengthy visa system to protect them from traffickers – the visa application does not work in this way and the time taken to process these documents places women and children at risk. Instead we need robust safeguarding procedures ideally a speeded up Enhanced DBS with local authorities being allocated extra resource to speed up the process.”

Her response comes after Lord Hannay of Chiswick questioned the government response by saying: “I can confirm what the noble Lord has asked about liaising with all the foreign agencies. I am glad to have picked up on our main security concerns. I think “security” is the wrong word. Obviously, national security is very important, but it as much security for the people who could be trafficked as it is security in a more general sense.
This is incorrect – the SEREDA project shows that the longer women and children are vulnerable – ie homeless, without financial resources and travelling – the more they are at risk of SGBV (trafficking and attacks) – the delays increase the waiting period which directly contributes to vulnerability. Further it is not the visa process that protects refugees but the vetting of hosts – we need a matching system whereby the hosts provide full details of their offer/identity etc and then we run a super-fast enhanced DBS system to check them out – local authorities need additional funds to increase their capacity to do this – the £10400 payment comes after refugees arrive.”