The Home Office has published new improved guidance on how it should respond when someone seeking asylum is experiencing domestic abuse and needs safe accommodation and support from the Home Office. It replaces previous guidance. It is relevant to all asylum-seeking survivors of domestic abuse in the UK.
You can find the new guidance here.
Please see the ASAP and Refugee Council briefing here for an overview of the new guidance. Look out for a more detailed ASAP factsheet on our website coming soon.
As many of you know, asylum-seeking women and their children can face huge difficulties in trying to access safe accommodation and appropriate support services when trying to leave an abusive situation. For lots of women it’s incredibly difficult to disclose this information and requires great courage to do so. It’s critical that, when they make a decision to leave the situation, they receive the support they need and can access services that help them to stay safe and recover from their experiences.
The new guidance is a real step forward in achieving this.
The women’s project at ASAP and the Refugee Council have been working for a long time to achieve the improvements contained in the new guidance. We produced a report (Women seeking asylum: safe from harm in the UK?) last year that looked at women’s safety in the asylum support system. We’re very pleased to see the Home Office acting on recommendations that came out of that report.
But we are very aware that, in order for the new guidance to make a real difference to women, the right people need to know about it and it needs to be implemented effectively.
We will be working hard to help spread the word, to monitor how it’s going and to feedback to the Home Office on this. We’d really like to hear your views and experiences of using the new guidance when supporting survivors, so please feel free to email the women’s legal advisor at ASAP about this: firstname.lastname@example.org.
ASAP and the Refugee Council have produced a joint research report:
This is a ground-breaking piece of research which focuses specifically on how the Home Office system of financial support and accommodation for women (the asylum support system) reacts to women seeking asylum who are experiencing, or at risk of, domestic violence and other forms of gender based violence. It builds on policy work that ASAP and the Refugee Council have been jointly working on for many years.
It draws, primarily, from survey results from specialist asylum support advisors across the UK. The report will help ASAP and the Refugee Council to continue pushing for an asylum support response that meets women's safety needs in the UK.
The Women’s Project was set up in response to the particular difficulties that women asylum seekers, who are in need of financial support and accommodation, face while in the UK. In common with men, they often face issues of poor mental and physical health. For women, however, this is exacerbated by:
We work to reduce destitution and its associated risks among women asylum seekers. We do this by:
If you would like to refer a female client who has an appeal at the asylum support tribunal, please click here.
If you have questions about supporting a female asylum seeker or refused asylum seeker around asylum support, please ring our Advice Line on:
T: 020 3716 0283 on Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 2-4pm.
Our women’s legal advisor (Alice Webb) is able to offer free, bespoke training around the UK on the asylum support system. She has a particular remit to offer free training to women’s organisations (particularly domestic violence services) and to other services which predominantly support women. This includes health professionals such as midwives and health visitors. Please click here to contact Alice. Or you can telephone her on: 020 3716 0284
For more information about how the asylum support system impacts on women, have a look at our powerful video about one of our clients:
We are incredibly grateful to Comic Relief for their funding and support of our Women's project.