Women are treated with respect by all staff, with proper regard for the uncertainty of their situation and their cultural backgrounds.

26. Women are treated with humanity and with respect for their human dignity at all times. Relationships between women and staff are positive and courteous.

The following indicators describe evidence that may show this expectation being met. They do not exclude other ways of achieving it.

  • Staff and detainees are fair and courteous to each other.
  • At least 60% of staff in direct contact with women and 60% of managers are also women. There is a strategy to continue improving this ratio.
  • Staff have training in and show proper regard for the uncertainty of women’s situations, particularly immigration issues, cultural backgrounds and the vulnerabilities of a population that may have experienced victimisation before detention.
  • Staff understand the impact of life experiences – such as family separation, trauma, abuse and mental illness – on women’s behaviour.
  • Staff engage proactively with women and seek to know them as individuals.
  • Staff routinely knock and wait for a response before entering rooms, except in emergencies.
  • Staff support and encourage women to engage positively with activities that can help to reduce the stress of detention.
  • There is an organised and structured peer support scheme that allows women to help and support each other.

27. Women have a named member of staff they can turn to on a day-to-day basis who is aware of their individual needs. Staff provide timely support as needed, including assistance with removal or release.

The following indicators describe evidence that may show this expectation being met. They do not exclude other ways of achieving it.

  • Staff strive to develop supportive relationships with individual women, understand their personal circumstances and encourage family ties.
  • All women have a designated officer to whom they can turn as an initial point of contact for support or to resolve problems in the centre.
  • There is a regular chronological record of contact with women, which identifies any significant events.
  • Regular group meetings are held, with the help of interpreters where necessary, to enhance communication between staff and women.
  • Staff are aware of external service providers and use them to help women.
  • Staff use care plans for women who need them to coordinate care and to help manage specific risks or needs.

Human rights standards

Staff-detainee relationships
In relation to expectations 26 and 27 above: Human rights standards recognise that places of detention should be managed in accordance with the obligation to respect the humanity and inherent dignity of those detained, and require that staff and managers have the necessary aptitude and training to perform their roles. See SMR 74.1, 75, 76, 79.1; EPR 71–77, 81, 83, 87.1; UNHCR–DG 8[48(xvi)]; CPT 6.

Staff working with detainees with particular vulnerabilities should be given specialised training. See EPR 81.