Just when you thought the Home Office couldn’t get any worse..

…a story in the Sunday Times (£) today tells how details from a suicidal young girl’s medical notes were used to deny her family asylum. And what’s worse, an immigration judge found in favour of the Home Office and the family faces deportation.

The girl, who lives in the northeast and cannot be named, had been given a “sugar-coated” version of why her family had to flee Albania for a new life in Britain. Her father did not tell the child about an alleged assassination attempt on his life by the local mafia.

At an interview with a psychiatric nurse, 48 hours after the girl overdosed in 2016, the child said her family came to Britain to “have access to better healthcare for dad”.

The Home Office was assessing the family’s asylum application at the time and learnt that the girl was “experiencing medical issues”. It requested access to her records for “safeguarding” purposes. But officials found the nurse’s psychiatric assessment and, in an unprecedented step, used it to argue that her father was lying about his reasons for coming to the UK.

If you are in a vulnerable situation, you need to know that you can talk openly to those giving you care in confidence. Of course parents aren’t going to burden their children with dangerous realities if they can avoid it, particularly if they have reason to be worried about a child’s mental state.

The Home Office doesn’t have too many bottoms of barrels left to scrape but this is yet another example of why it is not fit for purpose and should be dismantled and rebuilt with dignity, respect and fairness at the heart of its culture.

* Caron Lindsay is Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice and blogs at Caron's Musings

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2 Comments

  • Suzanne Fletcher 15th Apr '19 - 10:10am

    As Caron says “The Home Office doesn’t have too many bottoms of barrels left to scrape”. I have just this minute finished the Liberal Democrats for Seekers of Sanctuary April Newsletter, the last one was 4th March. The April newsletter has articles about FOUR instances of the Home Office being found guilty in the High Court. that is just in 6 weeks.
    The policy document there was huge controversy about at our September conference last year has detailed and radical proposals about reforming the present roles of the Home Office, and we need to keep on pressing on those.
    Our first para reads
    “As well as many well researched reports revealing Home Office shortcomings in how it deals with those seeking sanctuary, there are as many as FOUR court cases reported in this newsletter where the Home Office has been found to be dealing with a situation wrongly by the High Court. Surely this is a strong message that the Home Office is not fit for purpose. It needs radical reform as outlined in Lib Dem policy, and a swift end to the Hostile Environment.”
    I’ll now see if I can get hold of the full article behind the paywall, please ?

  • Suzanne Fletcher 15th Apr '19 - 2:30pm

    Having now read the full article, it strikes me that the Home Office comment is about “controlling immigration”. NO it is not about that, it is about establishing a claim for asylum.

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