Research: #RightToBeBelieved

We are proud to announce the publication of The Right to be Believed: Migrant women facing violence against women and girls (VAWG) in the ‘hostile immigration’ environment in London, a research report produced by King’s College London, LAWRS, and the Step Up Migrant Women coalition.

The study involved more than 60 women from 22 different countries with current or previous experiences of VAWG and insecure immigration status, as well as 10 BME-specialist organisations based in London.

The Right to be Believed provides evidence on the incidence of VAWG among migrant women with insecure status, as well as the barriers survivors’ experience when reporting to the police or seeking help.

Key barriers to report crimes to the police experienced by migrant women

  • Fear of not being believed because of insecure immigration status
  • Fear of perpetrator
  • Fear of deportation
  • Fear of losing their children
  • Lack of information
  • Language and cultural challenges

Negative experiences victims face when they report abuse to the police:

Worryingly, those who overcome these barriers, may still face additional barriers to access protection and poor responses from agencies. Our research showed that nearly half of those who reported the abuse were denied support from the police.

  • 45% were denied support by the police when reporting
  • Over a third of them were not believed by the police

Key recommendations

Recommendations informed by the voices of women with lived experiences and specialist supporting organisations working directly with migrant survivors.

BME organisations participating in the research are: Kurdish Middle Eastern Women’s Organisation (KMEWO), London Black Women’s Project, The Magpie Project, Southall Black Sisters, Iranian and Kurdish Women’s Rights Organisation (IKWRO), IMECE Women’s Centre, Women for Refugee Women, Kiran Support Services, Asian Women Resource Centre and the Latin American Women’s Rights Service

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