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The National Referral Mechanism

A referral to the NRM by the police or other authorised organisation means that a modern slavery offence is suspected and that the first steps to protect victims are being put in place

The National Referral Mechanism (NRM) is the framework for identifying and recording victims of human trafficking or modern slavery and ensuring they receive the appropriate support. The NRM does not itself result in modern slavery investigation but seeks to support the victim. Investigation is the role of the police.

Adults in England and Wales who are recognised as a potential victim of modern slavery through the NRM have access to specialist tailored support for a period of at least 30 days while their case is considered, which may include:

  • access to relevant legal advice
  • accommodation
  • protection
  • independent emotional and practical help

Support in England and Wales is currently delivered by the Salvation Army and a number of subcontractors. The Salvation Army will assess each potential victim to determine what support is most appropriate.

Only an individual from a Home Office authorised organisation, called “First Responder Organisations” can refer a person into the NRM. 

Where a First Responder suspects a person is a potential victim of modern slavery or human trafficking, they make a written referral to the Home Office Single Competent Authority (SCA), containing as much information as possible as to why they suspect they are victim.

A person under 18 years must be referred if suspected of being a victim, an adult must consent to be referred.

The SCA will consider the referral and where they believe there are reasonable grounds to believe the person is a potential victim, the victim will be entitled to the support offered by the NRM. 

The SCA will then gather all available information to decide whether on the balance of probabilities the person is a victim. The victim will continue to receive support until the decision is made.

The Salvation Army

The Salvation Army is contracted to provide support across the UK for the victims of modern slavery who enter the NRM process. They will provided accommodation as well as other support services such as counselling, therapy and access to legal and other support services where it has been decided there are reasonable grounds to suspect they are victims of modern slavery, this will be within 5 days of being referred.

The Salvation Army may be also able to assist if there are immediate accommodation requirements. More detail can be found on the Salvation Army website

If the Salvation Army cannot help, immediate accommodation should be arranged through Local Authority housing.

Last Updated on May 23, 2024

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