April 2, 2020, by htaylor
‘Nothing about us, without us’ – New guidance for policy makers on working with survivors
Do you work in a government department, a public authority or business and does your work focus on addressing modern slavery? If so, to what extent can you say that your work is currently survivor-informed, or even survivor-led?
The likelihood is that your work currently isn’t, or not to the extent that you would like it to be. The truth is that those with lived experience of modern slavery are still, for the most part, being asked only to retell their experiences of exploitation and trauma, and are rarely invited to participate in conversations about policy development or service delivery, or sit on advisory boards or steering groups. This is a missed opportunity to hear from and use survivors’ invaluable insights in shaping policies and services, and a missed opportunity to support survivors to move beyond their trauma story.
At the Rights Lab we understand the trepidation that some may feel about involving survivors in their work, so we’ve partnered with Survivor Alliance, a non-governmental organisation (NGO) whose mission is to unite and empower survivors of slavery and human trafficking around the world, to develop practical guidance to support policy-makers embarking on this work.
The guidance, published today, provides an overview of some of the key questions to consider before involving survivors, such as, ‘Are you clear why you are seeking survivor input?’ and ‘Has sufficient time been allocated to enable survivors to fully participate?’. The guide contains practical tips to ensure your consultation meetings with survivors run smoothly, as well as ideas for consultation follow-up.
We are encouraged by the recent interest of leaders in the anti-slavery field to involve survivors in their work. Minh Dang, Executive Director of Survivor Alliance said, “We are very pleased that policy makers are heeding our call to include survivors. This guide provides important tips for how to do so with the appropriate levels of respect and foresight.”
This guidance is not meant to be the definitive guide to working with survivors, and is not intended to be a substitute for face-to-face training, but we hope it is a useful starting point for policy makers to help them develop an anti-slavery response that is truly survivor-informed.