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Jean Lambert London's Green MEP

Police may be illegally arresting victims of crime, suggests Green MEP​

28 November 2017

It has emerged that a woman who reported being kidnapped and raped over a six-month period to the police, was arrested on immigration charges when she sought care [1].

Jean Lambert, London’s Green MEP and the Green Party’s migration spokesperson, has suggested that this may violate the EU Victims Directive. The Directive, implemented by the UK in November 2015, requires all victims of crime to be treated with respect and dignity – regardless of their residence status [2].

Jean says:

“I am deeply shocked by this report. Women who have endured terrible sexual violence – and indeed anyone who has become a victim of crime – should be encouraged to go to the police, and access the support they need.

This is not simply a matter of basic human decency. It’s enshrined in law. The UK has implemented the EU Victims Directive which demands that everyone is treated with dignity, regardless of their residence status.

The authorities are legally required to ensure that victims are treated in a “respectful, sensitive, tailored, professional and non-discriminatory manner”, and that anyone subject to gender-based violence receives “specialist support and legal protection”.

There’s no question that, in this case, the authorities may have broken the rules. It’s even more alarming that this doesn’t appear to be a one-off incident. The police referred 3,372 witnesses and victims of crime to the Home Office for immigration enforcement in 2015.

However, perhaps the most devastating impact of this behaviour is that it will deter other vulnerable people from seeking the help they desperately need.

So this is Theresa May’s “hostile environment” for “illegal migrants” in action. It’s a country where victims of sexual violence are forcefully removed from care, homeless people are treated as criminals, and sick children are denied healthcare. Surely it’s time for the Government to find some compassion and reform this cruel, draconian system.”