Useful Organisations

Visitors Groups

Our member visitor groups visit and support people in every detention centre and short term holding facility in the UK, as well as in a number of prisons. All visitors groups are independent, but work with AVID and each other to ensure that detainees across the UK have access to the emotional and practical support of a volunteer visitor, to share best practice, and to promote a collective voice for change based on detainees' real life experiences.

Visit our Visitors Groups page for more information about individual groups or our Map to locate a group close by to you.


General Detention

Bail for Immigration Detainees is an independent charity that provides legal advice and representation to migrants detained in removal centres and prisons to secure their release.

Detention Action provides support and advice to people held in Harmondsworth and Colnbrook Immigration Removal Centres, near Heathrow Airport in London, and people held under immigration powers in London prisons. 

Detention Forum is a network of organisations working together to challenge the UK’s use of detention. 

Freedom from Torture is the only organisation in the UK dedicated solely to the treatment and rehabilitation of survivors of torture. Freedom from Torture provide counselling, group therapy and ongoing support, provide expert medical assessments to support survivors’ asylum claims and use their expertise and evidence to protect and promote survivors' rights.

The Helen Bamber Foundation supports refugees and asylum seekers who have experienced extreme human cruelty, such as torture and human trafficking. They provide specialist care through psychological and physical therapy, housing and welfare support, legal protection and creative arts and skills programmes.

Medical justice is a charity that offers medical help to those held in immigration detention in the UK. Clinicians volunteering for Medical Justice document detainees’ scars of torture to assist in their asylum claims and challenge medical mistreatment of those held in detention. These cases provide the evidence for research, publications and campaigns for lasting improvements for detainees.


Support for asylum seekers

Asylum Aid offer free legal representation and advocacy for asylum, Article 3, HPDL and some immigration and Article 8 cases. Legal team includes a dedicated children’s caseworker.

Asylum Support Appeals Project work to reduce destitution amongst asylum seekers by protecting their legal rights to food and shelter. ASAP offers free legal representation and advice to asylum seekers and refused asylum seekers appealing against the Home Office decisions to refuse or withdraw their housing, financial subsistence, or both. 

The British Red Cross supports vulnerable refugees and asylum seekers in 58 towns and cities across the country. They also offer help with urgent needs including providing food parcels and vouchers, small amounts of cash, clothing, toiletries, emotional and practical support and advice, family reunification services and adjustment and orientation support.

Refugee Action helps refugees build safe and hopeful new lives through support and advice for refugees and asylum seekers struggling with the asylum process, poverty and homelessness.

The Refugee Council is one of the leading charities in the UK working directly with refugees, and supporting them to rebuild their lives.The Refugee Council run an Intergration Service that provides support and advice on access to settled housing issues, health and wellbeing issues, financial stability issues, asylum related issues, access to training/education and employment issues.

Scottish Refugee Council is an independent charity helping refugees and asylum seekers in Glasgow and across Scotland. It provides asylum support and advice, information and support to refugees and asylum seekers.

The Welsh Refugee Council is a sister organisation to the Refugee Council and Scottish Refugee Council, and works to help asylum seekers and refugees in Wales. They provide a wide range of education and training opportunities that work to enhance the knowledge and skills base of asylum seekers and refugees, volunteers and external organisations.


Monitoring Bodies 

The Care Quality Commission is an independent regulator of all health and social care services in England.

HM Inspectorate of Prisons is an independent inspectorate which reports on conditions for and treatment of those in prison, young offender institutions and immigration detention facilities.

HM Inspectorate of Probation reports to the government on the effectiveness of work with adults, children and young people who have offended with an aim to reduce reoffending and protect the public.

The Independent Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration monitors and reports on the efficiency and effectiveness of the immigration, asylum, nationality and customs functions carried out by the Home Secretary and by officials and others on her behalf.

The UK National Preventive Mechanism was established in 2009 to strengthen the protection of people in detention through independent monitoring. In coordination across the four nations of the UK, the NPM focuses attention on practices in detention that could amount to ill-treatment, and works to ensure its own approaches are consistent with international standards for independent detention monitoring.

The Office of the Immigration Services Commissioner (OISC) regulates immigration advisers, ensuring they are fit and competent and act in the best interest of their clients. OISC is an executive non-departmental public body, sponsored by the Home Office.

The Prisons and Probation Ombudsman (PPO) carries out independent investigations into deaths and complaints in custody.