Destitution is defined as not being able to afford to buy the essentials to eat, stay warm and dry, and keep clean. In the UK in 2015, about 1,252,000 people, including 312,000 children, were destitute at some point. People seeking asylum are cut off from all support when their legal case is refused. Those living on asylum support benefits get 50% less than the poverty line benefits that others in the UK receive.

Our campaigning aims to highlight the destitution of women, as this is often hidden, and spell out the rape and other abuse it makes women vulnerable to. Women are less likely to sleep rough and instead have to exchange housework, childcare, and even sexual favours to survive. Thirty-five percent of destitute homeless women asylum seekers report being raped in the UK. Children are increasingly taken away from destitute mothers and families.

For additional information see the joint website of Black Women’s Rape Action Project and Women Against Rape. Both organisations are campaigning for justice and protection for women and girls, including asylum seekers, who have suffered sexual, domestic and/or racist violence. We work on the basis of self-help and provide support, legal information and advocacy to women seeking refuge from rape and destitution.