Safety and all its complexities

Embracing  c. Jenny Wicks
Seeking safety and a place to call home

Around the world, various social, economic, political and religious forces impact women’s human rights in different ways.  

A significant proportion of women seeking asylum in the UK have experienced sexual violence. These violations may include rape as a weapon of war, female genital mutilation, honour killings, dowry-related violence, female infanticide, enforced sterilisation and trafficking.

Safety and all its complexities

For most women seeking asylum, their escape from their home country is a challenging journey to anticipated safety. An unknown safety- because when they arrive in UK, often not having chosen to come here, they are unaware of where they are and are unprepared for complexities of the asylum process. Fast tracked processes, inadequate access to legal advice, community pressures, fear of being detained or returned back to life threatening experiences they just escaped only further adds to their anxieties.

In addition to refugee protection we are committed to human rights, equality and humanity. At the Scottish Induction Service (SIS) we help asylum-seeking women who have just arrived in the UK to access support services to address the effects of abuse they have suffered. 

But there are many challenges – in fact many of the things women are asked to divulge would be difficult for any woman.

Within days of arriving in the UK, often suffering from traumatic experiences, a woman is forced to unwrap layers of abuse and disclose this distressing information to a complete stranger at her asylum interview.   No matter how difficult or disturbing, if she does not the relate the full extent of her experiences, her credibility and her claim for asylum could be badly affected.

Changes for the better

There are several ways that the existing asylum system needs to change to better meet the needs of women seeking asylum in the UK.  Undoubtedly, the existing asylum system must consider the existence of well recognised barriers to disclosure for women with experiences of violence and abuse.

The complexities of Asylum Support System can mean that women are unable to remove themselves from the contexts of violence or are forced to subject themselves to further risks on their pursuit for protection.

The government should implement and sustain policies that address women issues through a fair and just asylum process, a health service that does not exclude asylum seekers, support system that prevents destitution and support projects providing on-going specialist support to women victim of the sexual violence.

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(1) Comments

  • Ousmane
    12 February 2012, 06:59

    Thank you for the kind words and for your suopprt Ari! These human rights violations are occurring far too often.. We really need all the help we can get to put an end to them. Spread the word and speak out against injustice all around us!

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