Evidence to the Home Office Consultation on Police strip search ofchildren from Women Against Rape and Women of Colour GWS

12 June 2024

Evidence to the Home Office Consultation on Police strip search of children from Women Against Rape and Women of Colour GWS We call for an end to police strip searching of all children under the age of 18, in police custody or schools or anywhere else – it’s state child abuse. 1. Police should not …

Read more

UN Rapporteur submission: Evidence to Reem Alsalem on Violence Against Women

20 March 2024

Evidence to Reem Alsalem UN Rapporteur on Violence Against Women & Girls In this paper we draw from our experiences as a grassroots organisation and from published facts and research. We focus on the following areas of interest outlined in the Rapporteur’s Call for Evidence: access to the law, and redress, legal protection that prevents perpetrators repeating …

Read more

What OFSTED needs to know about CAFCASS

20 March 2024

Submission from Support Not Separation, Disabled Mothers’ Rights Campaign & Women Against Rape to OFSTED re its inspection of CAFCASS. Together we have worked for decades with mothers fighting to keep their children (Legal Action for Women was founded in 1982). In the last 10 years a growing movement of mothers, especially single mothers, struggling …

Read more

Submission to the Special Rapporteur – Custody cases, violence against women and violence against children

20 March 2024

Issued jointly by Disabled Mothers’ Rights Campaign, Support Not Separation and Women Against Rape, March 2024. We are very glad that the Special Rapporteur is carrying out this consultation. We have worked for many decades with mothers fighting to keep their children (Legal Action for Women was founded in 1982). In the last 10 years a growing …

Read more

Response to Ministry of Justice Review of Civil Legal Aid

21 February 2024

Response to Ministry of Justice Review of Civil Legal Aid Summary: The crisis in legal aid and its impact on some of the most vulnerable members of our society is not being monitored by government agencies responsible for providing effective access to justice. The results of the crisis, some of which we have described above, …

Read more

Submission: Sentencing Council’s Consultation on Perverting the Course of Justice

23 June 2022

Submission to Sentencing Council’s Consultation on Perverting the Course of Justice Guidelines 22 June 2022 Introduction WAR is a multiracial grassroots women’s organisation set up in 1976. It provides practical support to victims of all types of sexual and domestic violence, and it campaigns for changes in the systems of criminal justice, asylum and compensation. …

Read more

Briefing: proposed amendments to reduce the devastating effect of the Nationality & Borders Bill on traumatised victims of rape and domestic violence

19 January 2022

Briefing and proposed amendments to reduce the devastating effect of the Nationality & Borders Bill on traumatised victims of rape and domestic violence Contact: asylumfromrape@womenagainstrape.net 020 7482 2496, @AgainstRape Introduction Women Against Rape (WAR) has been supporting women seeking asylum from rape for the last thirty years. Since 2002, WAR has worked closely with the All …

Read more

Protest: women oppose Police Crime Sentencing & Courts Bill

12 January 2022

URGENT: women oppose Police Crime Sentencing & Courts Bill & Nationality & Borders Bill Update: National Day of Action Join WAR & Women of Colour GWS at the London protest against both the Police Bill and the Nationality & Borders Bill, meet 12 noon, Lincolns Inn Fields WC2A 3TL. Two planned protests have merged, check …

Read more

Letter to women MPs – Up from Destitution

23 October 2021

Letter to women MPs Crossroads Women’s Centre, 25 Wolsey Mews, London, NW5 2DX T: 020 7482 2496 E: gwad@allwomencount.net Dear [women MPs], We write to tell you about our new report Up from Destitution and ask if you can support our demand for an end to the enforced destitution of asylum seekers. Up from Destitution …

Read more

Evidence to Joint Committee on Human Rights on the Police, Crime, Courts & Sentencing Bill

14 May 2021

Evidence to Joint Committee on Human Rights on the Police, Crime, Courts and Sentencing Bill Does the power to extract information from electronic devices set out in Chapter 3 of Part 2 of the Bill comply with the right to respect for private life (Article 8 ECHR)? The Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill currently going through …

Read more

Evidence to government Violence Against Women and Girls Strategy

19 February 2021

Evidence to government Violence Against Women and Girls Strategy 19 February 2021 Women Against Rape is a multi-racial self-help organisation of survivors and supporters, based in London with a national network throughout the UK. Since 1976 WAR has provided support, advocacy and information to women and girls suffering rape or other sexual or domestic violence. …

Read more

Please fill in government questionnaire on violence

11 February 2021

Government questionnaire on violence Dear friends The Home Office did a consultation to update its Violence Against Women and Girls strategy. It includes a public questionnaire, deadline 19 February.  WAR will respond to the consultation raising the following issues in the sections where people are asked for ‘other comments’. We urge you to write in …

Read more

Briefing: Domestic Abuse Bill – Lords Committee Stage

22 January 2021

Briefing for DA Bill Lords Committee stage   Background This Briefing is from Women Against Rape (WAR) and Support Not Separation Coalition. Since 1976 WAR has provided advocacy and information in individual cases and campaigns for justice, asylum, protection and compensation. It has won changes in the law such as getting rape in marriage recognised …

Read more

Action Alert: Spy Cops Bill – Report Stage in House of Lords

11 January 2021

‘Spy Cops’ Bill – Report Stage in the House of Lords   Dear Lords, This is an extremely dangerous Bill which has attracted strong and broad opposition among organisations and individuals. You may have seen our original statement against the Bill in November which was signed by over 50 organisations (statement here). The Bill should …

Read more

Briefing: Spy Cops Bill in House of Lords now

11 November 2020

CHIS Bill – Spy Cops – in the House of Lords Letter sent to Members, 10 November 2020 The organisations and individuals below ask you to oppose the Covert Human Intelligence Sources Bill, for the reasons stated here: Licence to kill, rape, torture for State agents and informants. Stop the Covert Human Intelligence Sources Bill …

Read more

Briefing and proposed amendments to reduce the devastating effect of the Nationality & Borders Bill on traumatised victims of rape and domestic violence

19 January 2022



  • Women Against Rape (WAR) has been supporting women seeking asylum from rape for the last thirty years. Since 2002, WAR has worked closely with the All African Women’s Group, a 100 strong group of women asylum seekers and refugees.  Most are survivors of rape and other life-threatening domestic violence.
  • Research confirms that over 70% of women seeking asylum in the UK have fled rape – so it is a key driver for why women flee here. But information provided by the government for asylum seekers does not explain that rape and domestic violence can be grounds for asylum.[1]  Most women we support did not understand they had grounds to make an asylum claim until meeting our groups.
  • It is also very well documented and accepted by the Home Office that rape is particularly difficult to speak about.[2] A December 2019 audit of the legal cases over the previous six months where WAR provided support, found that 94% of women had not reported rape before getting help from WAR.[3]  Victims need time and expert help to report their experiences as rape has a long-lasting impact.[4] Survivors (and their children) already face years of struggle and destitution -- often including exploitation and further violence -- before they win their cases. [5]

Evidence to government Violence Against Women and Girls Strategy

19 February 2021


WAR makes this submission as an “expert by experience” organisation. In preparing it we asked women and men in our national network for their views and experiences, and include quotes from them.

The government must ensure that police and CPS prioritise and vigorously enforce the current laws against rape and domestic violence instead of dropping cases. Even senior police officers admit publicly that they lack the time, skills and dedicated teams to properly investigate rape. See interview with Sarah Crew, police rape lead for England and Wales, who says, “. . . if you can’t do it for rape, where the effect is life-changing, you could [ask]: what is the criminal justice system for?”

CHIS Bill - Spy Cops - in the House of Lords

11 November 2020


Sent to Members, from over 50 organisations 

Licence to kill, rape, torture for State agents and informants.
Stop the Covert Human Intelligence Sources Bill – in the House of Lords now.

As organisations campaigning for justice and protection for victims of rape, domestic violence, racism and other discrimination, and against the government’s refusal to address the climate emergency, we are alarmed at the Covert Human Intelligence Source (Criminal Conduct) Bill, known to the public as the Spy Cops Bill. The Bill would enable public agencies – from the intelligence services and the police, to the Gambling Commission and the Food Standards Agency – to authorise their agents and informers to commit heinous crimes, including murder, rape and other torture, with impunity.

We urge the House of Lords to stop this Bill which puts the UK population at the mercy of unaccountable shadowy forces, laying the basis for a police State.

Evidence to MoJ Review of Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme

9 October 2020


The denial of compensation to victims of sexual offences with criminal convictions is a scandal. Survivors in our network have been denied what should be an unquestionable entitlement for the violent crimes committed against them. We are outraged that the MOJ omits this rule from the Review questionnaire despite commitments that it would be reconsidered.

Rape convictions: juries are not to blame, biased investigations and prosecutions are - our response to Anne Coffey MP

29 November 2018


MP Anne Coffey got a lot of publicity last week when she said in Parliament that juries in rape trials should be abolished, arguing that this is the solution to the low conviction rate. Juries are not to blame for the falling conviction rate. Negligent and biased investigations and prosecutions are. These are compounded by economic policies which have downgraded the whole justice process and made women in particular more vulnerable.

Abolishing juries for such a serious crime would be a dangerous precedent.

London women report on impact of welfare cuts to UN Rapporteur on Extreme Poverty

Home Affairs Select Committee Inquiry into Modern Slavery

Research, including our own, has found that over 70% of women seeking asylum have fled rape elsewhere.  We document what happened to them and the aftermath of sexual violence: the continuing impacts of stigma and trauma.

[Among the All African Women's Group] an increasing number report experiences which could be considered as “trafficking” and/or “modern slavery”. Some of these experiences result from how they were brought to the UK and what happened to them on arrival.

One important and recurring theme is that many victims we see say that their suffering has been exacerbated by the government’s “hostile environment” immigration policies. Specifically, victims suffer from: institutionalised disbelief and hostility from immigration officers and decision makers; lack of acknowledgment of the traumatic impact of rape and sexual abuse. Since the 2014 Immigration Act “hostile environment” policies were introduced women report increased difficulties accessing health care, education, housing, banking etc. more women describe being destitute without any income at all and living in precarious situations where they are vulnerable to abuse.

Open Letter on compensation to Secretary of Justice

6 June 2018


Dear David Gauke

We collectively represent the experience and demands of thousands of survivors of rape, domestic violence and sex crimes suffered as children or adults.

The Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme is discriminating against victims of sexual crimes – even in some cases where our attacker was sent to prison. Winning justice and compensation is official recognition and a crucial step to recovery. It is particularly important for those whose attacker evaded prosecution – the vast majority of rape and domestic violence survivors.

There are several ways in which the Scheme should be updated. We appeal to your government to urgently change the following rules and practices:

Our comment on government announcement of Review into Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme - a victory for grassroots women!

18 September 2018

Nobody should be made to feel worthless as you do when you get a compensation refusal letter.”

[The announcement of a Review is] an important victory and augers well for future applicants. Victims, women and men, have bravely publicized their case as part of the struggle with the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA) which had turned them down. Such campaigning at the grassroots must be credited for winning this review.

The MOJ will now consult and then consider, in claims for abuse suffered as children, extending the time limit, and revoking the punitive refusals to those who have criminal convictions. But there are further rules and practices that disproportionately deny compensation to rape survivors, such as: delays in reporting to the police, pulling out before a prosecution is concluded, and brutally cross-examining vulnerable applicants at hearings.

Over the past 18 months WAR has brought together a network of survivors across the UK. We hold regular online meetings to discuss tactics based on a variety of experiences.

Why we oppose proposal to make men accused of rape anonymous

7 December 2016

Briefing to Parliament
(amendment to Policing and Crime Bill – Lords Report Stage)

Following the closure of several investigations into allegations of sexual violence by celebrities and VIPs, there has been another media frenzy and lobby of Parliament for anonymity for those accused of sex crimes.

There are three main reasons why WAR opposes anonymity for sex crimes.

1. It would make rape defendants different in law from people accused of other crimes. The main argument for this exceptionalism is that rape is uniquely stigmatising, that the public believes there is no smoke without fire and therefore even if the person is never charged, their reputation is damaged and they may suffer serious repercussions. Of course it is terrible to be wrongly accused

Briefing against the 2015 Immigration Bill

10 April 2015


Opposition to the Immigration Bill continues to grow.

  • In February, Lord Ramsbotham called for the bill to be withdrawn or suspended to allow proper consideration of a government commissioned report. The Shaw Report made recommendations: a limit on detention; an end to the detention of pregnant women; that there be a presumption against detaining victims of rape and other torture. A prestigious All-Party Parliamentary Group which took evidence from a wide range of organisations and prominent individuals also made important recommendations. Why are these being ignored?
  • In recent weeks Peers have expressed their opposition by voting for: a 28-day limit on detention; to allow 3,000 unaccompanied child refugees into the country; to allow asylum seekers the right to work if their claims have not been processed within six months;  to allow overseas domestic workers to change employers without risking immediate deportation.

Amendment 216ZC calling for the “absolute exclusion from detention of pregnant women” has yet to be voted on.  Meanwhile during the debate over 100 pregnant women have been detained in Yarl’s Wood IRC.

The Third reading - a final chance to amend the Bill - is scheduled for 12 April.
Lobbying is working – the Lords are leaping – there is still time to defeat the Bill

Evidence to Rashida Manjoo, UN Special Rapporteur on Violence Against Women

2 December 2014

We believe the UK government is flouting its obligations under CEDAW, and future obligations under the Istanbul Convention in relation to Violence Against Women.

1. Refusal to prosecute rapists including violent partners

“In the 12 months to March 2013 there were about 10,000 recorded rapes of adults in England and Wales, and about 6,000 recorded rapes of children.

“Only 1,820 (18%) of those recorded rape allegations led to a ‘sanction detection’ in which an offender was charged or cautioned for the offence, and 1,423 (12%) of cases were ‘no crimed’1.”

It is disingenuous of the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) to claim a 60% conviction rate – they are only looking at the cases taken to court. The majority of cases are closed either by police or CPS without ever being taken to court, resulting in a 6.7% conviction rate of reported rapes. (If unreported rapes, the overwhelming majority, were taken into account, the conviction rate would be even lower.)

Child rape in Rotherham questions rape survivors, parents and the general public want answers to

9 September 2014


Submitted to the Home Affairs Committee. We have received no substantial reply so far.

The Report by Dr Alexis Jay issued in August 2014, raises more questions than it answers. Unless these questions are asked and answered now, this will amount to a further cover up.

The Report says that over 1,400 girls suffered multiple crimes including: rape, child abduction, threats with guns, being given Class A drugs and alcohol, witness intimidation such as serious injury to themselves and other members of their families. The Report says no councillors or police in the area can say they didn’t know what was going on, following explicit reports by Risky Business to council meetings in 2004 and 2005 naming 50 perpetrators, including names of taxi firms, individual taxi drivers, and takeaways, and addresses where rape took place, yet no concerted action followed for years.

July 2006

Black Women's Rape Action Project & Women Against Rape's research documents the discrimination and hostility women seeking asylum from rape face.  Over 70% of the women claiming asylum in the UK are rape survivors.  Many face severe obstacles at every stage of the asylum process in getting acknowledgment of the rape they have suffered.  We found that few judges had any understanding of the impact of rape and the resulting trauma, most paid no attention to the IAT Gender Guidelines which address such issues and some displayed entrenched sexism, hostility and other prejudices.

The particular persecution women face is not recognised by the 1951 United Nations Refugee Convention but governments have agreed there is no need to amend the Convention because “the text, object and purpose of the Convention require a gender-inclusive and gender-sensitive interpretation”.  It is up to governments to put this into practice and United Nations agencies
and policy documents have urged governments to adopt guidelines for considering
women’s asylum claims.