Asylum rape cases ‘need assurances’

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WOMEN whose claims for asylum include allegations that they have been raped need greater assurance their cases are being taken seriously, a study by Edinburgh researchers has found.

They discovered that several of the problems that can hamper the fair treatment of women’s rape allegations within the criminal justice system may also be present, and sometimes amplified, when made as part of women’s asylum claims.

The study, funded by the Nuffield Foundation, was conducted by a team of researchers from Edinburgh and Nottingham universities.

It calls upon the UK asylum system to continue to work towards securing a more appropriate environment within which women applicants will not only be able to disclose incidents of rape, but also be confident that such claims will receive a fair and full hearing.

While examples of good practice were evident, the study found that hasty decision-making time scales and rigid processes may cause some applicants to delay reporting alleged experiences of rape in their country of origin. This may result in the Border Agency officials or immigration judges being less likely to believe them.