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Published by Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations

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Dungavel shame: vulnerable refugees detained

This news post is over 2 years old

Home Office criticised after data reveals vulnerable refugees are being routinely detained

Charities and campaigners have condemned immigration detention policies after it was revealed up to 40% of detainees in Dungavel are classed as vulnerable.

The detention centre in South Lanarkshire holds asylum seekers and illegal immigrants who are awaiting deportation after their bid to stay in the UK has failed.

Data from 31 December 2018 shows that 61 people were detained of which 24, 39%, were classed as adults at risk.

Home Office policy states that detention is not appropriate for vulnerable people. People who have been tortured or trafficked are among those classed as vulnerable.

Fiona Crombie, from Freedom from Torture in Glasgow, said there needs to be better definitions of "vulnerable" adult.

She said: "It is very difficult because their mental health is very fragile.

"The majority of the people we work with have experienced physical as well as emotional torture. Being treated in a way that is often punitive and adverse reminds them of those experiences.

"They have flashbacks, nightmares and intrusive memories and it is difficult for them to be able to manage those symptoms."

A spokeswoman said: "The health, welfare and dignity of those in immigration detention is of the utmost importance.

"We use detention sparingly and only when necessary and vulnerable people are detained, or their detention continued, only when the immigration considerations outweigh the evidence of vulnerability.

"We have made significant improvements in recent years, but following Stephen Shaw's second review the Home Secretary made clear that we our committed to going further and faster in exploring alternatives to detention, increasing transparency around it and improving the support available for vulnerable detainees."



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