Best Practice Guide: For community organisations working with sanctuary-seeking women in Wales

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There are roughly 12,500 refugees and asylum seekers in Wales. Life can be extremely tough for sanctuary seeking women. Many are forced to flee their homes because they have been subjected to serious human rights abuses related to their gender, such as rape, threats of honour killing and domestic violence. This suffering is compounded, once here, by having to navigate the asylum system, and the hardship of adapting to life in a new country with the continuous fear of being returned to face persecution. Women are also largely responsible for the majority of childcare and household budgeting. Despite these difficulties sanctuary seeking women have a vast range of skills, knowledge and experience to contribute to local communities, and with the right support, their potential can be realised. Community organisations in Wales provide essential support to sanctuary seeking women and are often their only lifeline. Women need particular services delivered in an appropriate way to meet their needs. Community organisations provide services, often on a voluntary basis, in order to assist asylum seeking and refugee women to integrate into their local communities and navigate a complex asylum procedure and support system. Oxfam Cymru has produced this guide as a resource for community organisations in Wales to highlight this work and promote best practice.
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   B es t  P ra c t i c e G u i d e For communi t y organisa tions  working  wi th sanc tuar y seeking  women in  Wales B y Jen Maman &  Helen Muggeridge  Principal authors: Jen Maman and Helen Muggeridge with additional material by Victoria Goodban. The authors would like to sincerely thank the participants of the Sanctuary Seeking Women in Wales Project as well as the following people for their contributions: Nasiba Amiri (Oxfam Cymru), Frances Ballin (Llanishen Refugee Women’s Group), Emmy Chater (Newport City Council), Gerry Hickey (Asylum Support Appeals Project), Val Lermon (Cardiff Refugee and Asylum Welcome), Mike Lewis (Welsh Refugee Council), Selina Moyo (Wales Strategic Migration Partnership), Constance Nzeneu (Women Seeking Sanctuary Advocacy Group Wales), Reynette Roberts (Oasis Cardiff),  Ayo Thompson & Emily Robertson (African Community Centre), Mark & Claire Seymour (The Sanctuary, Bethel Church), Sian Summers (Displaced People in Action) and Jeni Williams (Swansea Women’s Asylum Support Group).  Thanks to the local groups who allowed us to use their projects as examples to illustrate this guide:  African Community Centre, Displaced People in Action, Llanishen Refugee Women’s Group, Oasis Cardiff, Swansea Women’s Asylum Support Group, The Sanctuary - Bethel Church and Women Seeking Sanctuary Advocacy Group Wales. Copies of the guide can be ordered from: Oxfam Cymru5th Floor5-7 St Mary StreetCardiff CF10 1AT Email: oxfamcymru@oxfam.org.uk or downloaded from www.oxfam.org.uk/  – Important Disclaimer –  Asylum law is complex and changes rapidly. The information included within this Guide is a summary only and cannot substitute for legal advice from a qualified immigration advisor. It is strongly advised that women in need of protection are referred to an immigration solicitor or advisor. Contact details of legal services and appropriate organisations are available at the end of this Guide. Furthermore, Oxfam GB cannot be held responsible for any of the information provided in this Guide. First published by Oxfam GB in 2011, copyright symbol Oxfam GB and Big Lottery Fund (Wales). All rights reserved. This publication is copyright but may be reproduced by any method without fee for teaching, advocacy or training purposes, but not for resale. For copying in any other circumstances, or for re-use in other publications, or for translation or adaption, prior written permission must be obtained from the publisher, and a fee may be required.Printed by Oxfam GB.Oxfam GB is registered as a charity (202918). Acknowledgements  Introduction  1 Who is this Guide for? 1 Oxfam Cymru’s work with Women Seeking Sanctuary Wales 2 Methodology 2 Glossary of Terms 3  Chapter 1: Refugee Law  A: Refugee Status 4 B: Humanitarian Protection and Discretionary Leave to Remain 5 Chapter 2: Claiming Asylum in the UK  A: Applying for Asylum 7 B: The Screening Interview 9 C: The Asylum Interview 10 D: The Home Office Decision 11 E: The Asylum Appeal 12 F: The Asylum Appeal Hearing 13 G: If the Claim is Allowed – Forms of Status 13 H: Legal Advice 14 Chapter 3: Entitlements & Support for Sanctuary Seeking Women  A: Asylum seekers 16 Asylum Support 16 Housing 17 Additional Asylum Support Payments for Women 18 Support after an Asylum Refusal 18 Asylum Support Appeals 19 Destitution 20 Tips for Working with Destitute Women 21 B: Sanctuary Seekers 1.Health 23 2.Education 24 3.Employment & Volunteering 24 Volunteering as a step towards integration 25 Chapter 4: Working with vulnerable women  A: Victims of Human Trafficking 26 B: Support for Survivors of Domestic Violence 29 Chapter 5: Sharing Best Practice  31 Useful Contacts  38 Contents   There are roughly 12,500 refugees and asylum seekers in Wales. 1  Life can be extremely tough for sanctuary seeking women. Many are forced to flee their homes because they have been subjected to serious human rights abuses related to their gender, such as rape, threats of honour killing and domestic violence. This suffering is compounded, once here, by having to navigate the asylum system, and the hardship of adapting to life in a new country with the continuous fear of being returned to face persecution. Women are also largely responsible for the majority of childcare and household budgeting. Despite these difficulties sanctuary seeking women have a vast range of skills, knowledge and experience to contribute to local communities, and with the right support, their potential can be realised.Community organisations in Wales provide essential support to sanctuary seeking women and are often their only lifeline. Women need particular services delivered in an appropriate way to meet their needs. Community organisations provide services, often on a voluntary basis, in order to assist asylum seeking and refugee women to integrate into their local communities and navigate a complex asylum procedure and support system. Oxfam Cymru has produced this guide to highlight this work and promote best practice by providing this Guide as a resource for community organisations in Wales. Who is this Guide for? ã Individuals and community organisations working with ‘sanctuary seeking’ (refugee and asylum- seeker) women ã Community and faith groups interested in starting or extending services to sanctuary seeking womenã Refugee community organisations (RCOs) working with sanctuary seeking women What’s in this Guide? ã An accessible overview of the UK asylum system and procedure as it relates to women in Walesã Examples of the best practice of community organisations working with sanctuary seeking women in Wales ã Recommendations of ways of working which recognise the centrality of sanctuary seeking women’s rights and needs to organisational practice ã A comprehensive list of contacts of community organisations in Wales that work with asylum seeking and refugee women. Introduction 1. Victoria Winckler, Equality issues in Wales: a research review, Equality and Human Rights Commission, 2009 1
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