AVID (Association of Visitors to Immigration Detainees) is a tiny charity with only 2 members of staff, raising awareness of immigration detention across the country and supporting local visitor groups to detention centres.
This may not be the most sexy of causes but with the continued expansion of the detention estate (600 new spaces created last year), the launch of the first ever Parliamentary Inquiry into the use of detention (it doesn't work), Channel 4's exposure of the horrendous conditions in Yarl's Wood and Harmondsworth (inhumane) and the new government's manifesto promise to scrap the Human Rights Act (FFS) it's a crucial and important one.
When AVID began in 1994 there were 250 immigration detention spaces, there are now over 4,000, including those in prison. There are now 30,000 people deprived of their liberty every year. People who haven't actually been convicted of a crime - they are just there for administrative convenience while a decision is made on permission to entry the country or prior to their removal or deportation.
Imagine that if you will - you're in a legal limbo, often without access to legal advice, you're being held indefinitely, and you have little idea of what will happen to you next. You may well have escaped from a life of persecution, violence and fear. You might be pregnant or have your children in detention with you. You might be a child yourself. A volunteer visitor is often a lifeline at this time. There are now over 670 volunteers supporting around 2,000 detainees a year. These volunteers need training, information, support, and resources and AVID has been providing all this for the past 20 years, as well as reporting back to policy makers the grim realities of life as a detainee.
Donating through JustGiving is simple, fast and totally secure. Your details are safe with JustGiving – they’ll never sell them on or send unwanted emails. Once you donate, they’ll send your money directly to the charity. So it’s the most efficient way to donate – saving time and cutting costs for the charity. Please make sure you sign up for Gift Aid!