A public consultation on the proposed draft Human Trafficking and Exploitation (Criminal Justice and Support for Victims) (Independent Guardian) Regulations (Northern Ireland), has been launched by Health Minister Simon Hamilton.
The Human Trafficking and Exploitation (Criminal Justice and Support for Victims) Act (Northern Ireland) 2015, which received Royal Assent on 13 January 2015, is intended to strengthen protection from traffickers and those individuals who subject people in Northern Ireland to slavery and other forms of exploitation.
It is also intended to provide improved support mechanisms and services for the victims of trafficking and exploitation.
Commenting on the consultation, Minister Hamilton said: “It is crucial that we ensure that individuals appointed to act as independent guardians for children who have been trafficked or separated are properly equipped to undertake the role we are vesting in them.
“Those children will often face a great deal of fear and anxiety about their future. I want to ensure that they receive support, assistance and representation from a properly qualified professional.
“I welcome views on whether we have correctly specified the qualifications, support and supervision arrangements for independent guardians in the Regulations published for consultation today.”
The Act also establishes a system of independent guardianship for child victims of trafficking or children who are separated.
It is the responsibility of the Health and Social Care Board to establish an independent guardian service for Northern Ireland.
Those appointed to act as guardians must have certain qualifications and receive specific training, support and supervision to undertake the role of guardian.
The consultation will end at 5pm on Friday 6 November 2015.
Notes to editors:
- Consultation on draft Human Trafficking and Exploitation (Criminal Justice and Support for Victims) (Independent Guardian) Regulations (Northern Ireland)
- Hard copies of the consultation package can be requested by contacting Family and Children’s Policy Directorate
- Media enquiries should be directed to DHSSPS Press Office on 028 9052 0505. Out of office hours, contact the duty press officer via pager number 07699745440 and your call will be returned. Follow us on Twitter: @healthdpt
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