Yarls Wood IRC Vulnerable womens continued detention

A Report entitled “We Are Still Here” released by the charity Women for Refugee Women (WRW) reveals breaches of UK government policy stating survivors of sexual violence should not be detained. Severely traumatised survivors of sexual violence are being locked up at the Yarl’s Wood immigration detention centre (IRC), in breach of the UK government’s own policies.

In September 2016, in response to widespread concerns about immigration detention, the Home Office introduced a new “adults at risk” policy, which stated that people most likely to be harmed by detention, including women who have experienced sexual and gender-based violence, should not be locked up. However the report highlights the failure of the policies and that the system is “failing” these at-risk women.

A sample of women currently detained at Yarl’s Wood was interviewed about the policy and the results were disappointing. Out of 26 women, 22 were survivors of sexual or gender-based violence, including forced marriage, female genital mutilation (FGM), and forced prostitution or trafficking. They all reported suffering from depression and other forms of mental health issues. Almost half of the women confessed wanting to commit suicide and two admitted to have attempted kill themselves on more than one occasion.

Some of the key points identified in the Report are the lack of screening process to identify if someone is at risk prior to detention; survivors not being believed when they disclose their experiences  and struggling to provide evidence the Home Office will accept; and women being retained in detention even when their mental or physical health is deteriorating.

A Home Office spokesperson told the Guardian : “Detention is an important part of our immigration system, helping to ensure that those with no right to remain in the UK are returned to their home country if they will not leave voluntarily.”

They added: “We operate on a presumption against detention, and the adults at risk policy aims to improve our approach to identifying individuals who may be particularly vulnerable to harm in detention. When people are detained, this is for the minimum time possible, and the dignity and welfare of those in our care is of the utmost importance.”

At Lupins we continue to help detainees at Yarlswood endeavouring to secure bail and release for vulnerable clients. If you or your loved ones need any advice on this issue please contact our detention specialists on
0203 503 0880