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City of Sanctuary UK Guide to Use of Language

The City of Sanctuary network has engaged in various discussions on our use of language over the years at regional meetings and national conferences.  We are mindful that language evolves, and certain words become more or less acceptable as society changes and develops. We are all agreed that our use of language should always reflect our values and principles. We would not wish to dehumanise people seeking sanctuary by only referring to their immigration status or using acronyms in our speech and documentation. 

After considerable discussion and consultation, including the away days and Network Voice meetings in 2018 and 2019 and further consultation with City of Sanctuary Ambassadors and our Operational Advisory Group of experts by experience, we have created a Guide to the Use of Language document to share.

This outlines our preferred terms which we use in City of Sanctuary and we encourage the network and our partners to consider this document and to provide further feedback. As we have already acknowledged, language constantly evolves, there is no one correct term, so this document will change over time and we are open to finding better words which reflect our sensitivity and humanity and improve our overall communication. Please feel free to adopt this document as policy and to share widely.

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