'Hearing the Right Gaps': Enabling and Responding to Disclosures of Sexual Violence within the UK Asylum Process

25 Pages Posted: 26 Oct 2013

See all articles by Helen Baillot

Helen Baillot

Independent

Sharon Cowan

University of Edinburgh - School of Law

Vanessa E. Munro

University of Nottingham

Date Written: October 25, 2013

Abstract

The barriers that prevent or delay female victims of sexual assault from disclosing to criminal justice authorities, and the obstacles that often disincline professional and lay decision-makers from finding such narratives credible have been well documented. This article explores the extent to which such difficulties may be replicated, and compounded, in the case of female asylum-seekers; it will examine the complex ways in which the structure and processes, as well as the heavily politicized context, of asylum decision-making may contribute towards a silencing of sexual assault narratives. The article will explore the ways in which the intersection of race, ethnicity, gender, culture, religion, language and nationality present distinct challenges to women asylum applicants for whom an alleged rape is a part of their claim, and reflect on some of the difficulties which this presents in terms of assessing the credibility of sexual assault allegations, and of the overall asylum claim.

Keywords: Rape, Asylum, Disclosure, Culture, Trauma, Narrative

Suggested Citation

Baillot, Helen and Cowan, Sharon and Munro, Vanessa E., 'Hearing the Right Gaps': Enabling and Responding to Disclosures of Sexual Violence within the UK Asylum Process (October 25, 2013). Edinburgh School of Law Research Paper No. 2013/36. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2345235 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2345235

Helen Baillot

Independent ( email )

No Address Available

Sharon Cowan (Contact Author)

University of Edinburgh - School of Law ( email )

Old College
South Bridge
Edinburgh, EH8 9YL
United Kingdom

Vanessa E. Munro

University of Nottingham ( email )

University Park
Nottingham, NG8 1BB
United Kingdom

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