Sexual Violence: Nationality and Borders Bill

The Secretary of State was asked – in the House of Commons on 28th February 2022.

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Photo of Alison Thewliss Alison Thewliss Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Treasury)

What assessment has she made of the potential effect of the Nationality and Borders Bill for people who have experienced sexual violence.

Photo of Tom Pursglove Tom Pursglove Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Ministry of Justice and Home Office)

The Government recognise that sexual violence is a devastating crime that has a long-lasting impact on victims. The Nationality and Borders Bill, which is part of our new plan for immigration, will strengthen our ability to protect vulnerable people. On 16 September, we published an equality impact assessment, which includes an assessment of the potential impact on people who may have experienced sexual violence.

Photo of Alison Thewliss Alison Thewliss Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Treasury)

Last week, a joint letter with more than 60 signatories across Scottish civil society, including Rape Crisis Scotland, Amina Muslim Women’s Resource Centre, the Trafficking Awareness Raising Alliance, SAY Women and the Women’s Integration Network, criticised the Nationality and Borders Bill, saying:

“It is a gift to abusers and exploiters, and we have no doubt that it will harm survivors of sexual violence, gender-based violence and those who flee persecution.”

Scotland wants no part of the Bill. It is not in our name. Will the Minister take the opportunity to remove the Bill now?

Photo of Tom Pursglove Tom Pursglove Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Ministry of Justice and Home Office)

I hear what the hon. Lady says. I am sure that people in Scotland are as concerned as the Government are about people risking their lives in the hands of evil people smugglers, making dangerous crossings of the channel, and all the risks that that presents to life. The fact is that sensible discretion will be built into the whole approach, with various checks throughout, good reasons and a trauma-informed approach. That is precisely what we have committed to; it is exactly what we will deliver.