The core purpose of SWVG is to visit, support and befriend people seeking asylum and refugees, primarily in Southampton but also occasionally in Winchester or in detention centres.
Members should ensure they are familiar with SWVG’s privacy notices in addition to the points below.

Key points on confidentiality

  1. It is important that members recognise that all information given to them by a solicitor, by a client, or about a client must be treated as confidential.
  2. Visitors should obtain the consent of a client before contacting their solicitor.
  3. A client’s case should not be discussed with other people seeking asylum. It is, however, accepted that a visitor may need to share information given to them with another visitor in order to obtain better advice on how to proceed or in order to relieve some of the emotional stress of visiting.
  4. Information given by a client or by anyone else about a client should not be given to anyone outside the group without the informed consent of the person concerned. Visitors should be especially careful in any contacts with journalists, radio or television presenters or campaign organisations not to give the name or any details that would allow individuals to be traced. If there is a need to give such information, the full implications must be explained to the client before asking for permission. In some cases the solicitor should also be consulted.
  5. If a client requests it, or gives specific permission, it is reasonable to approach an MP or person in a public responsibility post in order to enlist help. Clients who request press coverage should be referred to AVID or the Refugee Council, whose aims include publicity.
  6. When volunteers speak in public about people seeking asylum, and wish to use real-life examples, they must ensure that no mention is made of names or country of origin, to ensure that no identification can be made.
  7. Essential information about clients will be maintained by the co-ordinators, administrator and visitor (referral form).
  8. Notes kept by individual visitors about clients should be kept confidentially and disposed of by burning or shredding when their purpose has been fulfilled.
Specifically for visitors to detention centres or prisons
1. A detainee’s case should not normally be discussed with officials of the detention centre or other detainees or former detainees.
2. On rare occasions it may be necessary to give information to detention centre officers in order to protect the safety of the detainee or others detained with them. This particularly applies when a visitor becomes aware of the possibility of a detainee attempting to commit suicide. On such occasions, the visitor should also inform an SWVG co-ordinator.
This confidentiality policy continues to apply after regular visiting with a client has ceased. It applies to those on bail, those who have been granted refugee status, ILR or ELR, those who have been removed and those with whom contact has been lost.