Will I ever be safe? Asylum-seeking women made destitute in the UK - report

Posted 11.03.2020

Women for Refugee Women and regional partners publish their new report, Will I ever be safe? Asylum-seeking women made destitute in the UK. The report explores the experiences of 106 destitute asylum-seeking women who have struggled to survive in the UK, making it the largest piece of research on the topic.

Asylum-seeking women are being made homeless, hungry and vulnerable to abuse in the UK:

  • 32 of these 106 women said they were raped or sexually abused in their country of origin and again when destitute in the UK.
  • Almost half were street homeless while destitute in the UK. ‘Rosie’, who was trafficked from Nigeria, slept outside for a continuous period of six months, while she was pregnant.
    • 25% said they were raped or experienced sexual violence while sleeping outside.
  • 95% were hungry while destitute.
  • 95% felt depressed; a third tried to kill themselves.

These women have already experienced abuse and violence in their countries of origin:

  • 78% of these 106 women said they had fled gender-based violence in their country of origin.
    • A third said they were raped by state authorities in their countries of origin.
  • A quarter of them came from DR Congo, where women have been targeted in ongoing conflicts and repression.
  • 16% are lesbian or bisexual and were targeted because of their sexuality, in countries where homosexuality is illegal, such as Uganda and Cameroon.

Most of the women in the survey were made destitute after their asylum claim was refused, but then they were unable to return to their countries of origin due to their fears of further persecution. Some women were made destitute after getting leave to remain, due to the challenges of moving on to mainstream benefits.

READ THE REPORT

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