What is immigration detention?

Immigration detention is part of the UK’s wider immigration system.

The Government states that they hold people in immigration detention in order to deport them from the UK. Yet their own figures show that around 85-90% of women seeking asylum held in detention are released back into our communities, to continue with their cases with the support of their loved ones. Immigration detention serves no purpose, except to cause harm.

The UK is the only European country to have no time limit on detention. This means that women can be locked up for weeks, months, or even years, on end with no idea when they will be released. This has a huge detrimental impact on their mental health and wellbeing.

"I arrived in the UK after fleeing gender-based violence. I was detained in a prison-like removal centre. Why? Purely because I exist and I am in need of safety. After 2 months of confinement, I was released. But my asylum application still hasn’t been approved, so I can’t work. This is not a life and I have no real home. I just want to be free."

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We’ve released several ground-breaking research reports on the devastating impact of detention on women’s mental health.

Our research found that:

One in five women we spoke to for our report Detained had tried to kill themselves in detention.

View report

Forty percent of the women interviewed for our report I Am Human had self-harmed in detention.

View report