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All Women Count mass lobby of parliament

Categories: Protection Gap,Publications

The Protection Gap Advocates took part in the All Women Count mass lobby of Parliament focusing on women migrants/refugees/asylum seekers’ rights on International Women’s Day, Thursday 8th March 2018.  This was organised by Women for Refugee Women and supported by many organisations including Asylum Aid.  The Protection Gap Advocates joined more than a hundred women for a photoshoot on the green outside Parliament.

Inside the House of Commons the meeting ran for two hours with numerous speeches by women who were all migrants, refugees or asylum seekers themselves, as well as interested MPs.  The Protection Gap Advocates reported feeling enthused by the speakers.

The Protection Gap Advocates welcome the progress that the Home Office is making in providing childcare during all substantive asylum interviews.  This is part of Asylum Aid’s Protection Gap campaign.  Women asylum seekers with young children have no family or friends to leave their children with.  It will make it much easier for women to explain what has happened to them if their children are not with them. However, the Protection Gap Advocates have identified a gap.

There is no childcare provision at asylum screening interviews.

At the asylum screening interview women are often asked about their claim.  This could be rape, domestic violence, forced marriage, FGM or trafficking. We need childcare at asylum screening interviews in Lunar House in Croydon because having your child at your asylum screening interview

  • causes distress and trauma for mother and child
  • is not in the best interests of the child
  • is distracting, making it hard to focus
  • “There are certain things a child shouldn’t know”

The Protection Gap Advocates asked their MPs to write to the Home Secretary asking the Home Office to provide childcare at screening interviews at Lunar House.   The Director General of UK Visas and Immigration wrote to Asylum Aid on behalf of the Home Secretary stating that “The Asylum Intake Unit will continue to work closely with the Asylum Childcare Provision Project to identify opportunities to provide this service during the screening process in Lunar House.”

The Protection Gap Advocates welcome this response and have offered to support the development of this new service and to promote it to women seeking asylum.