Publicity for BRWR might include:
- BRWR newsletters, Facebook page, website, posters and handbills.
- Newspapers, radio and television articles.
Most of this publicity will be available online and has the potential to be viewed globally.
Publicity is fundamental to BRWR guiding principles:
- BRWR are committed to highlighting the positive aspects of refugees settling in our community and the potential positive contribution they could make in the future.
- BRWR are committed to raising awareness regarding displaced people and potential refugees’ needs and difficulties.
- BRWR are committed to providing public information, this adds to greater understanding and tolerance of refugee families settled locally thereby promoting community harmony and coherence.
- BRWR are a community group reliant on volunteer fundraising activities and donation. It is therefore essential that the group engage in regular publicity in order to gain material and financial support.
Guiding principles for publicity activities
- A positive image of refugees themselves should be given.
- A positive image of BRWR should be aimed for.
- Awareness that identification of refugee families might make them vulnerable should be born in mind.
- Neither refugees nor BRWR should be brought into disrepute through any publicity.
There is a real risk that refugee families might become more vulnerable by taking part in publicity. However, refugees have the right of self -determination and assumed capacity to make their own decisions regarding whether they engage in publicity. Nevertheless, BRWR have a duty of care to refugee families most particularly in the six months of their settlement in Bromsgrove/Redditch. This is when they will be less aware of the local social environment and the potential for negative attitudes by some individuals which could impact negatively on them. Publicity could result in actual violence against refugees and/or their property, verbal abuse or harassment.
Duty of care
BRWR considers that the main duty of care is to explain the problems a refugee and their family could encounter as a result of publicity.
In the first instance this should be through an interpreter so that the possible consequences are fully appreciated by the refugee and their family. This will include highlighting how far and how fast information published online can be viewed. Subsequently, volunteers should be satisfied that they have passed on concerns and advice regarding publicity through the use of translation software. If a refugee still wishes to take part in publicity they should be strongly advised to heed the advice to refugees contained in this BRWR publicity policy document.
- Generally, BRWR will not ask refugees to take part in any publicity for BRWR in the first six months of arriving in the UK.
- BRWR recognise that Adult refugees have the right to make their own decisions in respect of publicity and cannot control what they decide to do outside BRWR.
- Refugees under 18 need their parent’s/guardian’s permission to take part in publicity, this should be in writing.
- BRWR Volunteers must observe the BRWR duties and advice for publicity detailed below when engaging in publicity with refugees.
Duties of BRWR Volunteers and committee members
- Maintain the anonymity of refugee families.
- Emphasise possible consequences of publicity each time the question arises.
- May not request that a refugee family takes part in publicity in the first 6 months of their settlement in the UK.
- May not make introductions with refugee families to any press or publicity agencies without gaining the agreement of the BRWR committee.
- Give a copy of this policy and emphasise the advice offered in this document to trusted groups which refugees are introduced to by BRWR Volunteers.
- Only first names should be used/published or names should be changed to protect identity.
- Addresses given should be vague – Redditch and Bromsgrove area.
- Photos/videos should not identify individuals as refugees.
- Under 18’s need parental permission to participate in BRWR publicity.
- The potential consequences of publicity should be communicated on each occasion.
Personal social media
This is not publicity, nevertheless BRWR Volunteers should be cautious in sharing images and messages in relation to refugees they meet through volunteering with BRWR. The advice in the publicity guidance above should inform their actions in relation to their own use of social media.
The following is not part of the Publicity policy document but is offered here as examples of the conflicting arguments weighed by BRWR committee when developing the policy.
How this policy was developed
In developing this policy very different views have been considered which are categorised below with some examples given. We believe that our policy has carefully considered the possibilities and represents a balanced approach to the question of including refugees in our publicity:
The principle that BRWR should:
– Do no harm – Exposing vulnerable people to racist abuse could be viewed as doing harm.
Refugees’ ability to appreciate the consequences of publicity:
– Their ability to speak/understand English which can be mitigated by the use of interpreters and should improve over time.
– Their lack of understanding of British society, this should improve over time.
Refugee action the Government engaged agency guiding refugees in their first year of settlement:
– Management are very wary of refugees engaging in publicity.
– Are very clear about the need for Refugees to be enabled to become self- reliant and to make their own decisions.
– Have an active relationship with Refugee families for one year, BRWR intention is to support families for a longer period.
– To respect people’s right to make their own decisions once fully informed and they have capacity, even if we believe they are making the wrong decision. Denying an adult this right is both patronizing and wrong and does not help towards encouraging self -reliance.
– Is not an all or nothing thing. This will vary with time, circumstances and the issue being considered.
– The Mental Capacity Acts states we assume capacity unless proved otherwise.
-If an adult refugee has capacity to make an informed decision (even if others view it as an unwise decision), then that decision must be respected. This means that Refugee families are free to disregard the advice of BRWR due to beliefs which differ from the majority of the population.
Jehovah’s Witnesses refusing blood transfusions.
A woman with schizophrenia refusing an amputation for gangrene due to her beliefs. The judge ruled that she had capacity to make an informed decision concerning the recommendation for an amputation which doctors believed would save her life. Hence her refusal to have the amputation had to be respected. And in this instance the doctors were wrong and she got better even without the amputation.
If there is any doubt about the person’s capacity to make an informed decision, every effort should be made to enable the person to have capacity to make that decision e.g. at certain times of the day they may be in a better position to consider the issues and the pros and cons of the issue. Assessments of capacity are undertaken over a number of meetings with the person and the views of family and friends are all taken into account too. The person concerned needs to understand the question, retain the information, be able to weigh up the pros and cons of the issue posed and then make a decision on the basis of the question posed.