This is the joint website of  Women Against Rape and Black Women's Rape Action Project. Both organisations are based on self-help and provide support, legal information and advocacy. We campaign for justice and protection for all women and girls, including asylum seekers, who have suffered sexual, domestic and/or racist violence.

WAR was founded in 1976. It has won changes in the law, such as making rape in marriage a crime, set legal precedents and achieved compensation for many women. BWRAP was founded in 1991. It focuses on getting justice for women of colour, bringing out the particular discrimination they face. It has prevented the deportation of many rape survivors. Both organisations are multiracial.

 

 

 

In the Media

We must end the detention of families

In the Media

The Guardian, Tuesday 18 May 2010  Letters

"We will end the detention of children for immigration purposes," says the new coalition government (Asylum children will be kept out of 'distressing' detention centres, 14 May). But what about their mothers?

Paediatricians and psychologists have testified to the mental and physical harm caused to children by detention. But separating them from their mother or primary carer is even worse; it may cause "insecurity, depression and anxiety" which lasts throughout life.

The recent six-week hunger strike by women in Yarl's Wood removal centre brought to public attention that many women detained inside are mothers whose children were taken by social services or other family members. Some face deportation and permanent separation, often after years of raising a family in the UK.

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First person: 'I was illegally deported from Britain'

In the Media
Photo of Mary

Mary, 40 Interview by Cheryl Gallagher, The Independent Saturday, 17 April 2010

Mary says: 'The immigration escorts dragged us to the plane. They were pulling my hair and my braids fell out'

In the run-up to the 2001 elections in my country in East Africa, I was campaigning for an opposition group when some government soldiers kidnapped me in front of my children. I was raped and tortured and they starved me. After about a month, one of the soldiers accidentally left the door open and I escaped. I decided that I had to leave the country with my children.

After we had been in England for a few years, we were woken up at 5am by a loud bang at the door. A man shouted: "Open up! Immigration." We'd had no warning we were going to be deported. We were caged in the back of a van like prisoners and they wouldn't let me take my medication for depression.

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Legal challenge over Yarl's Wood women

In the Media

Centre breaching human rights, say lawyers
Treatment of inmates is 'cruel and degrading'

Matthew Taylor
The Guardian, Monday 1 March 2010

Lawyers are due to launch a legal challenge today on behalf of four women held at Yarl's Wood detention centre, claiming their incarceration amounts to "cruel, inhumane and degrading" treatment that breaches their human rights.

The lawyers, who say they will submit the application at the high court in London, are applying for a judicial review of the government's detention policy, claiming it breaches articles 3, 5 and 8 of the European convention on human rights.

"This disgraceful policy will now be the subject of legal challenge," said Phil Shiner, of Public Interest Lawyers, which is bringing the action. "It is unlawful and we are calling, on behalf of our clients, for the policy to be struck down and for there to be an independent investigation."

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Immigration bosses to be quizzed after asylum seekers were 'beaten' by guards

In the Media

MPs to investigate claims that women in Yarl's Wood detention centre were physically abused by officers during hunger strike

Mark Townsend, home affairs editor
The Observer, Sunday 28 February 2010

Senior Home Office officials will be questioned this week over allegations that women inside Yarl's Wood immigration detention centre were assaulted by staff using riot shields.

The Observer has gathered a series of testimonies from detainees inside the Bedfordshire centre who claimed they had witnessed women being beaten and injured during a disturbance this month.

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Why I am on hunger strike at Yarl's Wood

In the Media

Denise McNeil, one of the detainees at Yarl's Wood, explains why she has been on hunger strike for the last two weeks

The Guardian, Monday 22 February 2010

Twenty women at Yarl's Wood ­detention centre in Bedford have been on hunger strike for two and a half weeks in protest at their treatment by the immigration ­authorities. Here, one of them, Denise McNeil, tells her story:

I have been on hunger strike for more than a fortnight. I feel weak and get terrible headaches. A ­doctor says I should eat, but I am still refusing food. I can't sleep because I am woken every hour of the night when the light goes on and somebody here checks on me.

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