Our new report, We Are Still Here, finds that vulnerable asylum-seeking women, including those who have experienced rape, are still being locked up in immigration detention.
A year ago, the Home Office introduced the new 'Adults at Risk' policy. For the first time, this policy recognised the harm that detention causes vulnerable women and said that those who have experienced sexual violence should not normally be detained.
However, our research finds that the policy is not working. The Home Office still routinely detains vulnerable women for long periods of time. Women who are 'unsuitable for detention' are not being identified, and even when their vulnerability is known they still are kept locked up.
Our report, I Am Human, looks closely at the experiences of women detained in Yarl's Wood. It reveals that women are routinely watched and searched by male staff in the detention centre, despite Home Office denials. I Am Human was launched on 14 January 2015 at a conference in London with Stella Creasy MP, Richard Fuller MP, and over 100 refugee women and supporters.
Our groundbreaking report Refused: the experiences of women denied asylum in the UK examines the effects of refusal on women seeking asylum in the UK. For this report, Women for Refugee Women interviewed more than 70 women who had claimed asylum in the UK. Almost all of the women had been refused asylum. Of those refused asylum, more than half had been made destitute, with no means of support or housing, a quarter had been detained, and more than half had contemplated suicide.
Policy briefings and evidence
Informed by the experiences of refugee women in our network, WRW regularly gives evidence and writes policy briefings for MPs and Lords.
Our latest report, The Way Ahead, lays out how to build an asylum process which does not rely on detention. It explores the views and experiences of women refugees to show the harms of routine detention and the need to build a fairer and more humane asylum system, based on engagement rather than enforcement. The Way Ahead urges the government to implement its commitment to move away from the routine use of detention and is essential reading for campaigners and policy makers.
Our report Detained: women asylum seekers locked up in the UK was published on 29 January 2014. It contains qualitative research on the experiences of women who have been detained in the UK, as well as previously unpublished Home Office statistics on numbers of women detained and the outcomes of detention. With a foreword by Philippe Sands QC, and an article by actress Juliet Stevenson about her experiences of campaigning for women in detention, this report is essential reading for politicians, campaigners and journalists.
Download our resources for more information on our work, and how you can support the Set Her Free campaign: