Our Victim Navigator Programme sees specialist workers deployed in the heart of police forces in the UK to fight slavery. They are deployed with border teams and serious organised crime units – our Navigators are given unparalleled access to cases, with the highest security clearance, to provide specialist knowledge from the very start of investigations and provide support to victims. Victim Navigator Programme Overview.
Latest report: Victim Navigator Interim Evaluation July 2021
“To a police investigation, a Victim Navigator is a vital role. It makes you have more time to do a better investigation so that that victim gets justice at the end of it. The Victim Navigators have definitely helped people engage more with police; it’s priceless really.” – Detective Constable Hollie Hampson, Essex Police
The scale of the issue
The true scale and cost of the crime is unclear, but based on a new police data analysis tool we believe there could be at least 100,000 victims in the UK, with the actual number likely to be even greater. For victims who are rescued, immediate and longer-term support is poor, leading to police losing vital intelligence and evidence when victims disengage or are re-trafficked. Engagement with victims needs to be transformed to dismantle criminal networks and bring more traffickers to justice.
Following extensive discussions with national police leaders, forces and leading national stakeholders, Justice and Care launched the Victim Navigator Programme in July 2018. We currently have Navigators deployed in the heart of Surrey, Essex, Greater Manchester and West Yorkshire Police Forces, as well as the Met and Border Force UK.
Our solution – Navigator Programme provides:
- Specialist care and support: including rescues, access to counselling, legal advice, medical treatment and coordinating International repatriations
- Tactical advice into investigations: including shaping investigations, reopening filed cases by connecting new evidence, advising on strategy and joining the dots across forces
- Advocacy: acting as a trusted bridge between police and victim to increase victim engagement and drive higher conviction rates
- Systemic change: including training for key policing leaders and agencies, lesson sharing to shape national strategy with partners such as the National Crime Agency and Home Office
“Justice and Care’s Victim Navigator programme is helping to shape the national police response to modern slavery. It is a unique attempt to create partnership between senior police investigators and a specialist NGO, joining forces to fight against this appalling crime.” – Jenny Bristow, Detective Chief Inspector – Modern Slavery Police Transformation Unit
Impact to Date
The Victim Navigator programme is being independently evaluated, with an interim report demonstrating that it is already improving lives and starting to change the system. Achievements, up to March 2022, include:
- 6,223 potential modern slavery cases analysed.
- Strategic advice provided to 466 modern slavery investigations.
- 280 victims given intensive support.
- 86% of victims supported choosing to engage with police investigations, compared to 33% nationally, providing police with key evidence to improve investigations and prosecution rates.
- Identifying and nurturing a local network of specialist organisations providing wraparound support to victims including charities, local authorities, Rape Crisis, Safeguarding Boards, NHS, Asylum Support services and more.
- 69% of victims supported reporting improved mental and emotional wellbeing and recovery.
- 146 suspects arrested in cases supported by Victim Navigators two exploiters convicted and multiple cases going to court.
- Working with senior figures within each police force to identify gaps in their response to modern slavery – this includes developing training workshops, more streamlined processes for recording and notifying relevant parties about new cases, improved victim support strategies and specialist resources rolled out force-wide.
- 3,592 frontline professionals trained in best practice in victim identification and care – with 97% of those trained reporting significantly improved knowledge after the session. As a direct result, more victims are rescued – one Road Policing Unit trained by the Navigator identified and intercepted four female potential victims from Eastern Europe and arrested two suspected traffickers, directly attributing this to their increased awareness following our training.
- Pioneering a new partnership with Border Force UK, helping to identify and intercept victims of trafficking at the Port of Dover in Kent and across major airports across Scotland.
- Internationally, supporting the safe returns of 23 survivors and several international investigations involving our other country offices and police forces in Europe.
Future plans for Navigator Programme
A significant and strategic expansion of the Victim Navigator Programme is needed to transform policing in the UK, save more lives and increase national modern slavery convictions. We are in conversations with the Home Office and our vision is for government to roll out the Navigator Programme to every UK police force, to transform the national response to modern slavery and see an end to this appalling crime.