Women who disclose domestic violence, rape, or other forms of gender-based persecution to the Home Office when they make their asylum claim continue to face disbelief and detention, according to a new report by the UN Special Rapporteur on Violence Against Women.
The report, published Wednesday 17 June, argues that women who have escaped violence and are seeking protection in the UK should never be held in detention in centres like Yarl’s Wood in the “Detained Fast Track” system. The UN Rapporteur was denied access to inspect Yarl’s Wood detention centre during her visit.
At Asylum Aid we have seen how detention re-traumatises asylum seekers, especially those who have experienced imprisonment, violence, rape or torture in the countries they are fleeing. Meanwhile, the UK detention system is cruel and unjust, as well as inefficient and expensive to run, and we believe that no asylum seeker should be deprived of their liberty through detention. Recent revelations about the poor treatment of female detainees in Yarl’s Wood in particular shame us as a whole country.
The UN report recommends that women who have experienced rape or domestic abuse should be provided with a positive response when they disclose past experiences of violence. Supporters of the Women’s Asylum Charter have been working with the Home Office to implement a supportive system for survivors; one that signposts or refers women to specialist support services. As the UN has emphasised the urgency of this measure once again, we hope that Home Office decision-makers will be encouraged to continue to make progress on this issue.
Our asylum system continues to put women at a disadvantage, especially those who are escaping sexual or domestic violence, leaving them faced with a system that is stacked against them. Asylum Aid is campaigning to close this “Protection Gap” for asylum seeking women and ensure that we live up to our commitments to gender equality and human rights in this country.
Find out more about the Protection Gap campaign!
For any media inquiries including interviews with women who have experience of the asylum process please contact email@example.com or 07483 120 703