Protection Gap must be closed - Refugee Council
December 12, 2014

Protection Gap must be closed

The Refugee Council is backing a call for better protection for women in the asylum system.

Over the summer, William Hague and Angelina Jolie led a global campaign aimed at ending the use of sexual violence in conflict, putting in place a ground breaking protocol that agrees how women raped during a civil war should be supported.

Yet if a woman escaping sexual violence flees to the UK seeking safety, she is not guaranteed the same level of support and protection.

As we pointed out in June, this is a dangerous example of lack of joined up thinking from the British Government. Asylum seeking women should not be allowed to fall through a protection gap.

Now, a coalition of organisations led by Asylum Aid and including the Refugee Council is calling on the Government to do more to protect women in the asylum system.

We believe that women seeking asylum should have the same rights as other women facing human rights abuses. We want the Home Secretary to take action and put these rights in place.

No woman seeking asylum should have to tell her story:

  • in front of her children
  • to a male interviewer or interpreter if she is not comfortable with this
  • to someone who doesn’t understand how trauma affects memory
  • without being given counselling
  • without information about her rights as a woman in the asylum system.

The coalition is calling on Home Secretary Theresa May to:

  • Provide childcare during screening and asylum interview
  • Guarantee that women can have a female interviewer and interpreter if they choose
  • Training for interviewers and interpreters on sexual violence, trauma and memory
  • Counselling and support for trauma for women who have experienced gender-based harm
  • Information about the asylum process, rights and entitlements specific to women seeking asylum.

You can make a real difference to women seeking asylum in the UK, simply by sending a postcard to your MP.