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Welcome to Women Against Rape’s Refuge from Rape & Destitution blog.  Together with our partners, the All African Women’s Group (AAWG), we are campaigning to highlight and end the injustices women face in the asylum system, and the government imposed destitution women suffer as a result.

NEWSFLASH: Read about the experiences of AAWG members, Becky and Okeke, in this article just published on Vice.com to mark the launch of a new report on destitution (available here) by Global Women Against Deportation, which we are members of. Another article about the report’s findings is available here.

Also recently published in the Independent, read here about “Sara” who was left destitute and cramped into “disgusting” slum housing with her family while suffering a horrendous nine year wait for a Home Office decision on their asylum claim. WAR helped her force the Home Office to make a decision – initially a refusal then full refugee status – and compensate for its delay. There’s more about that battle on the blog here, including an appeal hearing that had to stop when the Home Office’s own lawyer confessed even she couldn’t understand its refusal letter and why Sara had been refused asylum!

Changes proposed in the new “Nationality & Borders” and “Judicial Review & Courts” bills currently being debated in parliament will prevent women like Becky, Okeke and Sara overturn Home Office injustice. Find out how you can protest here.

Rape survivors who have escaped from persecution in their home country come to the UK with the hope of getting protection and safety. Yet many face stigma, discrimination and a hostile immigration environment which frequently makes it impossible to speak about what they have suffered and if they do, they are disparaged and dismissed. When rape victims are refused asylum their support and accommodation is withdrawn, leaving them destitute.

Our project aims to address this injustice by campaigning to remove key structural injustices that women victims in particular routinely face in their legal cases and highlight how destitution increases victims  vulnerability to rape and sexual violence.

The Covid-19 pandemic has pushed women into life-threatening situations, leaving many in exploitative and abusive situations where they are dependent on others. We’ve focused on finding emergency help like food vouchers and other essentials and campaigning to prevent destitution and homelessness so that women aren’t forced to risk their own and others’ lives, and can follow public health guidelines.