Sexual Offences

Home Office written question – answered on 27th January 2021.

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Photo of Jess Phillips Jess Phillips Shadow Minister (Home Office)

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, if she will work with specialist organisations to create a national framework for adult survivors of sexual exploitation, led by her Department and including a statutory definition of adult sexual exploitation.

Photo of Jess Phillips Jess Phillips Shadow Minister (Home Office)

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what assessment she has made of the effectiveness of existing statutory responsibilities to support adult survivors of sexual exploitation; and whether she plans to bring forward legislative proposals to develop that framework.

Photo of Victoria Atkins Victoria Atkins The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department

The Government is committed to tackling modern slavery including sexual exploitation. The Modern Slavery Act 2015, gives law enforcement agencies the tools to tackle modern slavery, including maximum life sentences for perpetrators and enhanced protection for victims. Section 3 of the Act defines the meaning of exploitation in the context of modern slavery and sexual exploitation is included within this definition.

In July 2018, the Government commissioned an Independent Review of the Modern Slavery Act 201 , https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/independent-review-of-the-modern-slavery-act-final-report to identify what can be improved in the implementation of the Act and whether specific areas of the legislation need to be strengthened. The Review found that the meaning of exploitation should not be amended as it is sufficiently flexible to meet a range of circumstances, including new and emerging forms of modern slavery.

The Government also published statutory guidance under Section 49 https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/950690/January_2021_-_Modern_Slavery_Statutory_Guidance__E_W__Non-Statutory_Guidance__S_NI__v2.pdf of the Modern Slavery Act 2015 in March 2020, providing a clear framework of support for some of the most vulnerable people in society. The guidance clarifies the roles and responsibilities of frontline staff and local stakeholders and sets out the support victims are entitled to and how this is accessed.

The Government is very aware that victims of modern slavery including sexual exploitation often have needs arising from their exploitation. That is why, the UK Government provides specialist support and advocacy services for victims of modern slavery regardless of their immigration status to assist them in rebuilding their lives and reintegrating into local communities.

The NRM is the process by which the UK identifies and supports potential victims of modern slavery including sexual exploitation by connecting them with appropriate support, which may be delivered through the specialist Modern Slavery Victim Care Contract (MSVCC), local authorities and asylum services. The introduction of the new MSVCC, which went live on the 4 January 2021, has brought about a number of new services and greater prescription to existing services to better meet the needs of each victim, including those with specialist or complex needs. The MSVCC will continue to provide accommodation, financial support payments, translation and interpretation, transport and access to an outreach support worker for those who are identified as a potential victim and receive a positive Reasonable Grounds decision from the Single Competent Authority.

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