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Getting documents

We recommend that in every case all disclosure documents relating to the survivor should be requested at the earliest opportunity. It will allow the survivor and their legal representative to thoroughly understand the background to their case, take instructions on any issues and understand what issues are likely to present problems for them, making their case more complex. 

Survivors usually do not have copies of important information about them. They are not given documents relating to the NRM such as the initial referral form as of right. They may have moved between places of accommodation and lost documents or not understood the need to keep them. 

If a survivor has not had access to all the key disclosure files in their case before a decision is likely to be made/was already made, it is vital that their legal representative (or support professional if they do not have a lawyer) ensures that this is highlighted to the competent authority. Correspondence should be sent to request that the survivor is not prejudiced in relation to any information on the disclosure files of relevant public bodies, which the survivor has not had the opportunity to consider, and comment on, with their legal representative.  

Key information that is useful to obtain in the course of case or after a negative decision to understand what to do next (ideally):

  • NRM referral form including narrative section
  • Correspondence including emails between any third parties and the government as part of the NRM decision making process and any documents shared by third parties
  • The reasons for any NRM decisions that have been made (these are called “consideration minutes”)
  • Decisions made by a MAAP and any subsequent notes by the CA
  • Anything the support worker sent in to the government during the NRM process
  • A previous solicitor’s file if they were helping the victim while they were going through the NRM/confirmation of what the CA asked them and what the reply was or any documents sent in
  • Witness statements prepared by or for the victim
  • Any letter sent to the CA challenging the negative decision (for example a previous attempt to get the case reconsidered, or a pre action letter from a solicitor) and their response
  • Any relevant disclosure files depending on the contact that the survivor has had with different UK statutory authorities. For example:
  1. Home Office 
  2. Competent Authority file
  3. The Salvation Army File (if first responder or support has been provided through the Victim Care Contract)
  4. NHS records, including GP records
  5. Ministry of Justice Records – if previously in prison or a detention centre
  6. Local Authority File
  7. Police Records (individual records have to be sent to every police force who has had involvement)
  8. Police National Computer Records.
  9. Previous Solicitor Records (as above)

You can tell which documents the CA has taken into consideration during the NRM as these are referred to in the decision. However, it is common for documents that were sent in to be missed off a list (and so it is assumed not considered at all) which is why it can be useful to make sure you go back to what was actually sent to the government if possible to work this out via a lawyer or support worker. It may not be possible to get all everything that is relevant to a survivor’s case by asking data holders. If you have court or Tribunal proceedings where trafficking is an issue you could ask for the court/Tribunal to order disclosure of the documents you have not been able to obtain. Also, remember to ask the survivor if they can tell you which governmental bodies they have had contact with while in the UK and request files accordingly. 

NRM file

All requests for data held by the government for any case (even a past one that was handled by one of the old decision making bodies called the National Crime Agency) can go to the CA or Home Office.

You can contact the CA with a disclosure request here: scaDisclosures@homeoffice.gov.uk. You only need to attach a form of authority. This should ideally be the SCA specific disclosure form.

Home Office file

When dealing with the Home Office, you should all request full records and it is good practice to be specific about what you request or they will not provide it, i.e. specifically stating you want documents and correspondence relating to the NRM including referral form, correspondence with third parties and consideration minutes to decisions made. A “detailed request” is the best one but the Home Office will automatically assume you only want an electronic summary and you will be sent this first.

You apply online. There is more about the process here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/requests-for-personal-data-uk-visas-and-immigration/request-personal-information-held-by-uk-visas-and-immigration

The following is required when making a Home Office SAR request.

  • Authority to request the data if a third party is requested (signed and dated within the last 6 months)
  • Copy of photo ID or a clear colour photo

The email address that can currently be used to correspond with the Home Office about a request after it is made is: subjectaccessrequest@homeoffice.gov.uk 

We recommend you make a request of the CA as well, even if you are also applying to the Home Office. If you make a request to the Home Office first, the CA may say they will send their disclosure via the Home Office so it will take longer for it to reach you.

Be prepared for delays and to chase up the request.     

Salvation Army file

For a copy of the file held by the Salvation Army, contact: mstsar@salvationarmy.org.uk. You will need a consent form dated within the last six months.

The Salvation Army will authorise release of paperwork by the agency that supported the victim while they were in the NRM, if they were getting support. They will also be able to provide you with documents they hold centrally. The Salvation Army has   previously been reluctant to email documents unless you have a secure email address, for example, “cjsm”. Without a secure email, they can still post you the disclosure.

They should do this within the 40 days for disclosure so it is a quicker way of getting documents, even if it will not bring up correspondence or documents that went to the Home Office which did not pass through the Salvation Army support provider.

They should have a copy of the NRM referral form and any documents sent into the government by the support worker or correspondence between the support worker and government. Check what you are given carefully and go back to them if there are gaps to ask for anything else required. Hopefully it will be possible to get a copy of the consideration minute for the decision from the Salvation Army file if the client does not have one. The Salvation Army may ask a victim’s previous support agency to disclose information to you and they may need direction on what you need despite the terms of your original request.

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