Ukrainian Refugees In The UK: Are They Being Adequately Safeguarded?
In March this year, the government introduced the Homes for Ukraine refugee scheme in response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine. This scheme allows UK residents to host Ukrainian refugees in their homes for six months or more. Ukrainian nationals can also live in the UK for three years; they are also allowed to work and have access to public services and benefits.
The scheme allows Ukrainian refugees fleeing their country a safe place to stay; however, it’s vital to protect them. The government asks potential hosts to undergo DBS checks and home inspections to ensure their homes are suitable for refugees. Due to a significant influx of refugees and a lack of government resources, Ukrainians are at risk of exploitation. This article will cover the topic in detail and offer solutions that may help.
Can Safeguarding Be Effectively Deployed In Short Timeframes & On Such Scale?
One of the main concerns regarding the Ukrainian refugee scheme is to ensure the safeguarding of these vulnerable people and avoiding exploitation by their host families. DBS checks are vital for safeguarding and preventing unsuitable people from becoming hosts. Currently, hosts must undergo DBS checks and have their homes vetted to ensure they are suitable for refugees.
Potential hosts will need to carry out a basic DBS check unless they are housing children without a parent or guardian. If that is the case, they will need an enhanced DBS check; instead, their local council will be able to provide the necessary forms. Ideally, hosts should carry out these checks before a refugee arrives, but sometimes this happens shortly after they arrive.
Many hosts have complained about local authorities sending out forms weeks after a refugee has arrived. These delays put refugees at risk of harm and exploitation as the results of the DBS checks won’t be available immediately.
Government statistics show that at the end of July, approximately 119 000 visas were issued to Ukrainian nationals, putting pressure on the DBS service. This can also mean local authorities may struggle to get DBS results back to hosts in the designated timeframe.
What Are The Implications And Risks For The Refugee When Full/Effective Safeguarding Isn’t Carried Out?
When refugees enter the country, they often have no access to financial resources, so they cannot look after themselves. They are often vulnerable and do not have the support to keep themselves safe and out of dangerous situations. Safeguarding measures are vital to protect refugees from exploitation, particularly women, who are often at most risk of harm. For instance, in some cases, males hosts sent awful messages to women.
Why Is It Important For Refugees To Undergo DBS Checks?
It is also essential to protect hosts in the UK too. This is why refugees also need to undergo DBS checks. Safeguarding host families is critical if they have children, as some refugees may take advantage of the situation they find themselves in.
If you’d like to find out more about DBS checks and Ukrainian refugees or ask any other questions regarding DBS checks, then get in touch with one of our expert advisors today.