AVID Training
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"I felt like I was in a coffin, but I was still alive. I was nailed in a coffin, but I wasn’t dead. I was choking. That’s how it felt in detention…"

Bearing witness: the Hidden Stories of Immigration Detention

For over 20 years, volunteer visitors have supported thousands of people as they experience the sharp end of the UK's immigration policy: indefinite detention. Volunteer visitors have been a lifeline for so many people in detention, offering friendship, practical advice and emotional support at an extremely difficult time.

For those detained, immigration detention is isolating, dehumanising and stressful. For those who visit, it is a challenging experience  to support someone in the face of such injustice. For AVID's 20th anniversary, our Hidden Stories project celebrates and commemorates the role of volunteer visitors in supporting detainees, and the local visitors groups that have made this possible.

Our Hidden Stories project brings together the thoughts, feelings and experiences of those who’ve been detained, the people who’ve visited them, and the relationships they’ve shared. Hidden Stories records their own stories, in their own words, for the first time.

Our project centres on a short film, below.

Please watch, and share widely to help raise awareness of volunteer visitors and visiting across the UK.

An accompanying book Hidden Stories can be downloaded here.

It includes first hand testimony from both visitors and people detained, as well as images from inside detention centres. If you would like a copy, please contact us.

Interested in showing 'Hidden Stories'?

If you’d like to hold an event to raise awareness about visiting and detention in the UK and would be interested in screening ‘Hidden Stories’ get in touch!

Watch: Hidden Stories