NEWS!! Protection Gap campaign demands and Home Office action points

We believe that no woman seeking asylum should have to tell her story:

  • in front of her children

Due to the Protection Gap campaign, the Home Office will consider options for provision of childcare in areas in which it is currently not available (London, Glasgowand Liverpool).

We believe that no woman seeking asylum should have to tell her story:

  • to a male interviewer or interpreter if she is not comfortable with this

Due to the Protection Gap campaign, from now on a female interviewer is guaranteed if requested in advance of the interview ie at screening. Until now this has been in Home Office guidance but has not been guaranteed in practice.

The Home Office will develop a script for screeners to ensure women understand the significance of having a choice of interviewer.

The Home Office will consult the Interpreters Unit about recruiting more female interpreters. They will also consider using video conferencing although Charter supporters do not think this is appropriate for sensitive interviews.

We believe that no woman seeking asylum should have to tell her story:

  • to someone who doesn’t understand how trauma affects memory

Due to the Protection Gap campaign, the Home Office has included information about trauma and memory as well as a case study about rape in its training on the assessment of credibility for its caseworkers to be rolled out from April 2015.  Any relevant training material from the College of Policing will also be included.  In addition they will take forward training on sexual violence and trauma for interpreters.

We believe that no woman seeking asylum should have to tell her story:

  • without being given counselling

For the past two years Charter supporters UNHCR, Refugee Council and Scottish Refugee Council have been working with the Home Office to develop access to counselling for women who have experienced sexual violence.

Due to the Protection Gap campaign, from May 2015 women who disclose sexual violence at screening in Croydon will be signposted to organisations that provide counselling.  If this is successful, there will be a national rollout from Sept 2015.

If funding permits, women who disclose sexual violence at their initial interview will be referred Dear colleague,

Now that we have completed the postcard phase of the Protection Gap campaign, I am writing to update you on our impact.  We were thrilled that so many of you promoted the campaign with such enthusiasm.  This has meant that the campaign’s reach has been much further than we anticipated.

Through the campaign 1223 postcards were sent to MPs with a message to Theresa May, the Home Secretary.  The postcards were presented to Baroness Helena Kennedy by representatives of the Refugee Women’s Strategy Group and the Evelyn Oldfield Unit who were involved in setting up the campaign with Asylum Aid.  During this phase (8th December 2014 to 10th March 2015) Charter supporters were involved in lobbying Home Office officials and parliamentarians and obtained online and print media coverage.

These initiatives resulted in the Home Office reviewing its Women’s Asylum Action Plan.  The Action Plan was originally set up as a result of the Charter of Rights of Women Seeking Asylum.  We were very excited to see the new Action Plan which was produced just this week.  We are sure you’ll be as pleased as we are to find that the new Home Office Women’s Asylum Action Plan included all of the Protection Gap demands. The details linking the campaign demands and the Home Office action points are below.  And do look at our full update about the campaign activities and successes.

So what happens next?

A number of Charter supporters will be monitoring the Action Plan through existing Home Office stakeholder mechanisms.  But turning promises into actual provisions that women seeking asylum can benefit from will require continued pressure.  The intention has always been to continue the campaign until these measures are in place. With the coming general election, lobbying work has to be put on hold.  However once a new Government is in place we will be in contact again asking for your continued help in the Charter campaign to close the Protection Gap.

In the meantime, it would be incredibly helpful at this stage if you could let me know about your activities in promoting the Protection Gap campaign and also your feedback on the campaign itself.  This will help us in planning the next phase.

Finally I want to congratulate everyone on being part of a campaign that has demonstrated how much progress we can make if we all work together and to thank you very much for your involvement.

Best wishes,

Debora Singer

Policy and Research Manager

Asylum Aid

020 7354 9631 x208
To a specific organisation that provides counselling.  A six month pilot will be followed by national rollout.

We believe that no woman seeking asylum should have to tell her story:

  • without information about her rights as a woman in the asylum system

Due to the Protection Gap campaign, the Home Office will review information provided to women about their rights in the asylum system including their current information and information about the signposting arrangements (above).


Posted on March 26, 2015, in News and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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