Detention campaign wins

Banning of male guards in women's areas

Following our research which showed that women at risk of suicide were being watched in intimate situations by male guards, including on the toilet, in the shower and while they were getting dressed – causing huge distress – the Government banned this practice in 2016.

Limit on the detention of pregnant women

Following significant campaigning by ourselves and others, a 72-hour time limit on the detention of pregnant women was introduced in 2016. This has resulted in a huge decrease in the number of pregnant women detained, falling from 99 in 2014 to just 7 in 2022. This is a huge win as the detention of mothers-to-be and their unborn children can have devastatingly harmful effects on their health and wellbeing.

Decrease in the number of women detained

Since our campaigning began in 2014, we have seen a significant decrease in the number of women detained overall, from over 300 in 2014 to around 60-80 currently;

Alternative to detention

From 2019, the Government piloted a community based ‘alternative to detention’ for women seeking asylum, which worked to resolve their cases within our communities.

Face-to-face advice

Following our 2022 legal challenge, it was announced in April 2023 that all legal advice surgeries in detention must now take place face-to-face. This was the first legal challenge to address remote legal advice provision in detention.

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Defeated the government

In summer 2023, we defeated the Government’s attempt to undo the 72-hour time limit on the detention of pregnant women, via new provisions in the ‘Illegal Migration Act’.

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This shows that together we can make change!

But there is still more to do. The Government are continuing to detain women seeking safety, and are planning to expand their use of immigration detention, causing huge harm to women who have already survived so much.

We can’t let this continue.

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