Woman with dark hair and red top staring through a window

"The revelations on Newsnight around asylum delays and inexperienced staff are no surprise to researchers working on the SEREDA project.

"Interviews with nearly 100 forced migrant survivors of sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) in the UK revealed the devastating effect that gender and trauma-insensitive interviews and waits, sometimes of more than a decade, for a decision on whether women would be returned to persecution, had on survivors. Interviews often continued for many hours without a break, with women expected to repeatedly provide details of horrific sexual assaults to male caseworkers.

"Despite the clearly re-traumatising nature of these experiences, survivors were not given access to psychological support with several reporting feeling suicidal after the interview or developing PTSD. Women victims of SGBV were also sometimes placed in mixed-gender housing where they encountered sexual harassment and lived in fear of further attacks.

"It was evident that for SGBV survivors, the asylum system was not fit for purpose and rather than ensuring their protection the asylum system increased their vulnerability."