Women often face particular challenges and dangers in their home countries, on their journey to safety and going through the asylum process.
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Disclaimer: The information provided in this section is intended for guidance only. It is not a substitute for professional advice and we cannot accept any responsibility for loss occasioned as a result of any person acting or refraining from acting upon it.
Inspirational Refugee Women
Whilst fleeing war in Syria, Yusra’s boat started taking on water. She swam and pushed the boat for 3 hours to reach safety. Once settled in Germany, she trained for and competed in the 2016 Olympics.
As a child, Judith’s family fled Germany when the Nazis came into power. They settled in London and Judith grew up to write many wonderful children’s books, including ‘The Tiger Who Came to Tea’.
Women speaking out for change
There are refugee women across the City of Sanctuary network supporting each other and speaking out for change!
Refugee Women Connect have published Gendered Considerations in the Asylum System during Covid-19 – Guidance for organisations supporting asylum-seeking and refugee women.
Women’s Asylum Charter – outlines the simple steps needed to make the asylum system decent and safe for any woman who turns to it for help. – Consonant ( formerly Asylum Aid).
Women for Refugee Women challenges the injustices experienced by women who cross borders to seek safety.
UNHCR – Policies and Resources on Women and Gender based violence.
The Women’s Refugee Commission – Research and advocacy for programs and policies to protect and empower refugee women and children.
Scottish Refugee Council: Raising Refugee Women’s Voices (impact on its work with the Refugee Women’s Strategy Group)
A Guardian article on a floristry project in London for refugee women (Sep 2017)
Refugee Council toolkit from the Powerful Women’s project – includes information and advice on different scenarios and situations, including how to deal with flashbacks.
Refugee Council Good Practice Guide for working with asylum-seeking and refugee women affected by rape and sexual violence (2009)
Hear us: the experiences of refugee and asylum-seeking women during the pandemic July 2020 – A research report from 8 organisations documenting the experiences of 115 women seeking sanctuary.
‘Failing at Each Hurdle: Credibility in Women’s Asylum Claims’ – a video from Asylum Aid (2015)
‘From Us to You’ – a video from Asylum Aid with useful information aimed at women seeking asylum
Gender Issues in the Asylum System from the Rights in Exile Programme
‘We are still here: The continued detention of women seeking asylum in Yarl’s Wood’ – a report by Women for Refugee Women (2017)
‘Women seeking asylum: Safe from violence in the UK?’ – a report from Refugee Council and ASAP on women’s safety in the asylum system (2018)
Updated Home Office guidance on how it should respond when someone seeking asylum is experiencing domestic abuse and needs safe accommodation and support from the Home Office (Jul 2019).
Amnesty International article on the dangers women face on journeys through Europe
An article on ‘10 of the most dangerous countries to be a woman’
‘Risks and Opportunities for the World’s Refugee Women’ – an article from the Council on Foreign Relations website
Trauma Awareness Publishing has launched two books:
‘Under the Shade of a Tree: Somali Women Speak’
‘Leaving Our Homeland: Syria to the Isle of Bute’
They contain evocative narratives around the impact of war and seeking safety. Contact Trauma Awareness for more information: