We’ve been crunching the numbers from the 50 or so destitute migrant families NELMA has accompanied to London local authorities since our accompanying scheme began in the spring of 2016.Caveat: it’s a relatively small data set and we’re not professional statisticians. But our volunteer accompaniers take extremely detailed notes and we’re confident that our data gives a decent general picture of what’s going on.
Here are some headlines:
- 62% of families accompanied by NELMA were given false information about Section 17.
- 36% of families were falsely told their immigration status made them ineligible for support.
- Families with less secure immigration status were more commonly lied to, especially in relation to immigration matters. 63% were given spurious immigration advice.
- Families waited over 80 minutes on average before being seen.
- Visits to social services lasted over four-and-a-half hours on average.
- 51% of families experienced intimidation or threats.
- 29% of families were threatened with deportation. 50% of families with no leave to remain and no application were threatened with deportation.
- 40% of families faced disbelief or were accused of dishonesty by social workers.
- Overall, 69% of families experienced intimidation, blame, disbelief or hostility during the interview process. This rises to 88% for families with no leave to remain in the UK and no imminent application to regularise.
So this is why we accompany.
Though we don’t have stats to prove it, it’s clear to us that the presence of a NELMA accompanier makes a vital difference to the experience families have when they approach social services.
If more than 50% experience intimidation or threats even in the presence of a witness, we can only guess at what the figure might be for families who go to social services on their own.
There are still places available on NELMA’s upcoming accompanying training sessions. If you’re available between 9-5 on at least some weekdays and want to show solidarity with destitute migrant families, please get in touch.