Helen Baillot & Elaine Connelly (Refugee Council & ASAP)
Women seeking asylum: Safe from violence in the UK?

If a woman seeking asylum seeks to leave an abusive relationship she is likely to be wholly dependent on the asylum support
system for accommodation and financial support.

People seeking asylum in the UK are not entitled to mainstream benefits and the vast majority are not allowed to work. If they are destitute while waiting for a decision on their asylum claim, the only form of state support available to them is via a parallel housing and benefits system known as asylum support which provides a basic subsistence payment of £37.75 a week and ‘no choice’, usually shared, accommodation. This system is administered by the Home Office, with subcontractors such as G4S and Serco in charge of the housing provision.

This research report explores the extent to which this system ensures the safety of women who are facing domestic abuse and other forms of gender-based violence.

The findings are based on data from an online survey (158 respondents), semi-structured interviews with professionals (14 respondents), and interviews with women seeking asylum (2 respondents).