Survivors of sexual and gender-based violence are routinely being detained, says a July 2018 report (pdf) from Women for Refugee Women on the continued detention of women seeking asylum in Yarl’s Wood.
Between May-September 2017, Women for Refugee Women spoke to 26 women who have claimed asylum and been detained since the Adults at Risk policy came in.
This report demonstrates the harm that immigration detention does to women who are seeking asylum.
The report finds:
- 22 of the 26 women (85%) they spoke to, who had claimed asylum and been detained since the Adults at Risk approach came in, said they were survivors of sexual or other gender-based violence, including domestic violence, forced marriage, female genital mutilation and forced prostitution/trafficking
- All of the women they spoke to said they were depressed in detention, and 23 of the 26 women (88%) said their mental health had deteriorated while they were detained
- The lengths of detention for the women they spoke to ranged from three days to just under eight months. The vast majority, 23 out of 26, were in detention for a month or more. Nineteen women were in detention for three months or more.
The report recommends that the Home Office should:
- Implement a proactive screening process to ensure that survivors of sexual and gender-based violence, and others who are vulnerable, are identified before detention
- Implement the stated presumption against the detention of survivors of sexual and gender-based violence, and other vulnerable people
- Introduce an absolute exclusion on the detention of pregnant women.