Treatment of women asylum seekers in yarl’s wood immigration removal centre, 2015

Submitted by: NCW Darlington & District Branch

The National Council of Women, in Conference assembled, being concerned that:

  • there is a large backload of cases of asylum seekers waiting for a decision on their asylum status
  • some cases are taking many months and sometimes years to resolve
  • while waiting for a decision on their status asylum seekers are detained in immigration removal centres
  • women in the Yarl’s Wood centre are supervised predominantly by male officers
  • women in Yarl’s Wood are not receiving adequate health care, mental health care and counselling
  • there are reports of abuse and sexual harassment and abuse by some officers
  • there are reports of self-harming and suicide attempts by some of the women
  • women who have been raped or tortured in their own country and think they have come to a place of safety in UK are subjected to indefinite imprisonment although they have committed no crime

Therefore urges HM Government to:

  • consult widely on the need for detention while waiting for asylum decisions
  • review the policy of keeping women in prison-like conditions
  • investigate the reasons for the backlog of cases and allocate resources needed to clear it
  • ensure that women seeking asylum have adequate access to counselling and health and mental health services.
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