Are you in Detention?

“Detention Action’s support brought me confidence.”


Advice Line / 0800 587 2096 / or Contact Us

Are you in detention?
Give us a call

0800 587 2096

  • It's free
  • It's confidential
  • We support people in Colnbrook and Harmondsworth detention centres and people held under immigration powers in prisons

Detention Action is a charity that provides emotional and practical support for people in immigration detention.

We are completely independent from the Home Office and from the detention centres.

Our telephone line is open:

Monday - 10.30am to 1pm
Tuesday - 10.30am to 1pm and 2pm to 4.30pm
Wednesday - 10.30am to 1pm
Thursday - 10.30am to 1pm and 2pm to 4.30pm
Friday - 10.30am to 1pm

If you leave a message with your name and number we will call you back.

If you're unable to use our Freephone number, you can call us on 020 7226 3114.

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Your questions

If I call Detention Action will it be confidential?

What you tell us is confidential. We will not tell anyone outside of Detention Action about your situation without your permission.

The only exception to this is if you say you want to seriously harm yourself or harm someone else. In that case we must inform the detention centre.

You can see our privacy notice at:

I need support and solidarity while in detention

Sometimes it is just helpful to have someone to talk to.

We are here to listen to whatever you want to talk about. We have volunteers who may be able to visit you in detention. We may also be able to speak to you with an interpreter. Please let us know what your first language is if you don’t speak much English.

"I don't trust anyone in the centre. No one listens to me. When I feel bad, I call you. When I talk to you, I feel better."
Mohammed, the Verne IRC (closed in 2017)

I need legal advice or specialist help

We do not provide legal advice, but we can help you communicate with your solicitor if you are having difficulty contacting them or if you don’t understand what is happening in your case. We can explain how to get legal advice if you don’t have a solicitor.

Everybody’s situation is different. If you tell us about your situation, there may be other ways we can help or other useful organisations we know. If you need specialist help, we can signpost you to other organisations like Bail for Immigration Detainees (BID) or Medical Justice. If you are confused about what is happening, we can explain how things work in detention or who to speak to for more information.

You can call our free phone number if you are having trouble contacting people, you have no phone credit or you aren’t sure who to call. Our free phone number is 0800 587 2096.

I would like someone to visit me in detention

Detention can feel very isolating, and it can help to have someone come to visit you. We have a number of volunteers who visit people in detention. Visitors can provide emotional support if you need somebody to talk to, but they can't help with your legal case.

Call our free phone number on 0800 587 2096 and we can talk to you about visits.

I have medical or health problems

The detention centre should be providing you with adequate healthcare. If you do not know how to speak to healthcare or you are worried about getting treatment, we may be able to give you some advice or put you in touch with other organisations.

We are not medical experts but if you call our free phone number on 0800 587 2096 we can talk about your healthcare needs.

I am having problems getting legal advice

There are legal surgeries in each detention centre where you can get an appointment to see a legal aid adviser. This does not mean they can take your case, but you can at least see someone.

If you do not know how to find your legal surgery or are having problems with your solicitor then we can talk to you about your options. We are not lawyers and can't give legal advice but we may be able to help.

Call our free phone number on 0800 587 2096 and we can talk about your options.

I am in a different detention centre

Detention Action supports people who are held in Colnbrook, Harmondsworth and Morton Hall detention centres, as well as people who are held under immigration powers in London prisons.

Other detention centres have specific visitors groups who may be able to help. You can find their details below.

I need an address for bail

If you don’t have somewhere to live when you are released on bail you might be able to apply for accommodation from the Home Office. Detention Action can give advice on whether or not you are eligible to apply for accommodation and can support you with the application. We cannot advise you on how to apply for bail or be a surety.

How else can I contact you?

If you are in detention the best way to contact us in on our free phone number 0800 587 2096.

However you can also call us on 020 7226 3114, fax us on 0208 7226 3016, or email us at

Interested in speaking out?

Detention Action believes that immigration detention is a major injustice. People in detention often want to speak out about the reality of life in detention and to tell people outside what is happening to them. We are campaigning to end the unfair detention system and we can help you make your voice heard.

If you are in detention and would like to speak out, or if you have been released from detention and are interested in joining our expert-by-experience group Freed Voices, then please see

"Detention Action...are making voices heard. For everybody, no matter your colour, your religion, your language. They understand. They are very helpful."
David, Colnbrook IRC

Advice Line / 0800 587 2096 / or Contact Us