Detainees are treated with respect by all staff. Effective complaints procedures are in place for detainees. There is understanding of detainees’ diverse cultural backgrounds. Detainees’ health care needs are met.

11. Detainees are treated with humanity and respect for their human dignity at all times. Escort staff interact positively with them.

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

  • Staff interact politely and positively with detainees, use preferred names and check detainees understand what is said to them.
  • Staff have training in and show proper regard for the uncertainty of detainees’ situations, particularly immigration issues and cultural backgrounds.
  • Staff set a personal example in the way they carry out their duties.
  • Staff introduce themselves to new detainees and wear identification that clearly displays their name and status.
  • Staff establish the nationality of the detainee and their first and any other languages, and are careful to make themselves understood and to understand what the detainee may wish to say.
  • Staff do not use inappropriate language or behave in ways that are likely to cause or increase stress or discomfort.
  • Information about detainees’ needs is communicated between staff sensitively.
  • Sufficient information is provided to detainees about the process and about what will happen. This is translated where necessary.

12. An effective complaints system is in place.

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

  • Detainees are able to submit feedback or complaints in their own language, about any aspect of their treatment, including confidential written complaints, both during escort and following arrival in the destination country. They are informed of how to do so, advised of the procedure and assisted by staff if necessary.
  • Determined efforts are made to ensure that detainees receive a swift response to comments or complaints, regardless of location.
  • Responses are communicated in the language in which the complaint was submitted.

13. All staff work effectively to eliminate unlawful discrimination and promote equality.

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

  • Managers and staff promote an understanding of and demonstrate respect for all ethnic, national, cultural and other diverse groups. Inappropriate language or conduct by staff or detainees is challenged.
  • Staff are trained in diversity issues and understand the potential needs and vulnerabilities of detainees with protected characteristics.
  • Professional interpretation is used wherever necessary to ensure effective communication with detainees who do not speak fluent English.
  • Detainees with special needs receive appropriate treatment.
  • Detainees are able to practise their religion as far as is practicable.

14. The specific needs of female detainees are met.26

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

  • Female detainees are escorted by female staff.
  • All staff have a clear understanding of the specific needs of women in detention, including those who are separated from dependants and pregnant women.
  • Policies and procedures recognise the specific needs of women in detention.
  • Women have regular, equitable and safe access to any available facilities and activities, with appropriate levels of privacy.
  • Women are provided with suitable hygiene and sanitary products.
  • If pregnant women are removed under escort, force is never used against them simply to effect removal. It is only used to prevent harm.

26See separate Expectations for women in immigration detention.

15. Detainees’ health needs are met.

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

  • All detainees have immediate access to health care from suitably qualified staff, and detainees with significant health needs have easy access to health care professionals.
  • Detainees who need to take medication during escort are able to do so.
  • Health staff at the centre share pertinent medical information with the escorting health professional to ensure continuity of care. The escorting health professional can access a patient’s medical summary in a medical emergency.
  • Before removal, detainees are provided with a summary of their medical notes or discharge letter to ensure continuity of care.

Human rights standards

Respectful treatment
In relation to expectations 11–15 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.

Human rights standards require detainees to be able to make requests and complaints and to do so without reprisal or punishment. Requests and complaints must be responded to promptly. See SMR 56, 57; EPR 70; BOP 33; UNHCR–DG 8 [48(xv)]; CPT 8.

Non-discrimination is a fundamental principle enshrined in human rights treaties and standards. See ICCPR 26; CERD 1, 2; CEDAW 1, 2; ICESCR 2.2; CAT 1; CRPD 5. Human rights standards relating to places of detention should be applied impartially and without discrimination. See SMR 2; EPR 13; BOP 5. See additionally in relation to women BR 1, 30–33.

In addition to the general non-discrimination provisions set out above, there are specific human rights standards relating to some protected characteristics, including the following:

  • Detainees with disabilities: CRPD 2, 3, 5, 9, 14; SMR 5.2, 55.2, 109.2; UNHCR–DG 9.5.
  • Detainees from national, ethnic, cultural, religious or linguistic minorities: DRM 2; EPR 38. See additionally BR 54.
  • Sexual orientation and gender identity: UNHCR-DG 9.7; Yogyakarta Principles; Council of Europe Committee of Ministers, Recommendations on measures to combat discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation or gender identity.
  • Older detainees: UNHCR–DG 9.6.
  • All persons have the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion. See ICCPR 18; ECHR 9. Human rights standards require that there be no discrimination on the grounds of religion or religious belief and that prisoners belonging to religious minorities must be able to profess and practise their religion without any interference. See EPR 13, 29; SMR 2, 65, 66; BOP 5; UNHCR–DG 8 [48(ix)].

See also standards relating to safeguarding vulnerable adults (in relation to expectations 2–5 above).

Human rights standards require that the health care needs of detainees are monitored and met. See ICESCR 12; SMR 27; EPR 39.