A potential 13,000 victims of ‘modern slavery’ could be helped by new education resources to help health visitors spot the signs.
The Institute for Health Visiting (iHV) announced the publication of its new good practice points and e-learning resources on domestic slavery alongside the government’s Spot the Signs campaign aiming to combat the ‘most hidden form of exploitation in the UK’.
Domestic slavery is defined by the Home Office as ‘the practice of exploiting or exercising undue control over someone to coerce them into performing domestic services in unacceptable conditions’.
The iHV said health visitors are ‘well-placed’ to see what goes on in domestic situations and spot whether someone is living in domestic slavery. Many victims are not permitted to leave the house or speak to others, so health visitors may be the only person from the outside world they can speak to – and possibly their only means of escape.
iHV executive director Dr Cheryll Adams said: ‘The scale of domestic slavery is significant and the impact on the lives of the victims is huge. Health visitors can help by recognising the signs that someone is in domestic slavery, and then reaching out and encouraging them to come forward to report their situation using the Modern Slavery Helpline.
‘We are delighted to develop these vital new resources with the government to provide health visitors with the information and evidence they need to spot the signs of an individual in domestic slavery to reduce, and ultimately stop, this shocking abuse.’
Estimated from the Home Office said there were 10,000-13,000 potential victims of domestic slavery in the UK in 2013. All forms of modern slavery were made illegal in the UK under the Modern Slavery Act, illegalising the practice of restricting the freedom of another person.
The Modern Slavery Helpline can be reached at 08000 121 700.