Vulnerability Screening Tool IDC UNHCR

Identifying and addressing vulnerability: a tool for asylum and migration systems


This screening tool on identifying and addressing situations of vulnerability is a UNHCR and IDC collaboration intended to help guide and inform frontline workers and decision-makers on the relevance of vulnerability factors to detention decisions, referrals to alternatives to detention, open reception facilities, community-based placement and support options, in the context of asylum and migration procedures and systems.

Refugees, asylum-seekers, trafficked persons, stateless persons, irregular migrants and other non-nationals without legal status often experience situations of vulnerability – they are often exposed to heightened risks of harm and require special care, support and protection. For the purposes of this document, vulnerability is more inclusive than being at risk of persecution or refoulement. While the tool might contribute to the process of determining protection needs as outlined in international refugee law and other human rights frameworks, that is not its purpose.

Its purpose is to identify situations of vulnerability so as to inform a range of decisions around the person such as those related to the most appropriate placement and support options in the individual case. It aims to encourage early intervention, effective care of individuals in need, and partnerships with community services. Further, it aims to reduce the presumption of detention and to encourage a consideration of placement options starting with the least restriction on liberty and freedom of movement.


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