Section: Border
Support: Assistance, Protection Capital: Human, Physical Implementer: Italian Red Cross Funder: Emergency Appeal, Other

Neutral help points to provide accessible and reliable information and basic support to all migrants regardless of status.

Case study

Safe Points are essentially Italian Red Cross help desks that provide information and basic support to all migrants regardless of their status. They aim to provide services and reduce the vulnerability of all migrants in need, particularly those who do not have access to the reception system. Services provided include legal information and advice, information on rights, first aid, basic health care and orientation, psychosocial support, and RFL. Additionally, Safe Points provide referrals to other available assistance. For example, information is provided on locations of safe sleeping spaces in municipalities. Migrants are also advised on how to access the public health facilities and referred to professional psychiatric care (where relevant). Safe Points answer any questions migrants have. To be able to set up Safe Points, the Italian Red Cross leveraged its reputation and relationship with municipalities to be allowed to provide support for all migrants regardless of status. This became especially important given the increase in the numbers of migrants following the introduction of the ‘hotspot approach’. Two Safe Points in Catania and Trapani have been opened so far with plans for more.

Other examples

A similar programme known as ‘Espace Migrants’ is run by the Belgian Red Cross, which provides information and orientation services to migrants regardless of their legal status. A centre in Brussels is staffed with a team of 30 trained volunteers who provide services such as orientation, legal and social counselling, and information about the health and education systems, amongst others. Migrants are also referred to NGOs for further support.

Assessment of impact and reach

As of February 2016, Safe Points had assisted 108 people; the first was set up in January 2016.

Cost per beneficiary
Alignment with policy

Design. [P1] Focuses on vulnerabilities of migrants regardless of status. [P4] Recognizes the right of all migrants to receive support regardless of status.

Implementation. [P5] Links basic assistance and protection for all migrants regardless of status.

  • Balancing the provision of services to migrants and the needs of local populations.
Lessons learned
  • The local branch managing a Safe Point should have good knowledge of the territory and strong collaboration with government and other stakeholders.
  • Need to ensure that volunteers receive training on migration-related issues.
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