The Ferret Journalists win 'Gender Equality Award: Women And Migration'

Over the next week we will be publishing information about all of our Write to End Violence Against Women award winners. You can find the full list here or read Annie McLaughlin’s article for the Sunday Herald here.

Rebecca Omonira-Oyekanmi, Lyra McKee, and Karin Goodwin investigated the experience of female asylum seekers forced to remain with abusive partners because of their immigration status. Read their full piece on The Ferret here.

They wrote: “Asylum seeking women have been told by legal advisors that they should consider staying with abusive partners rather than risk losing their right to remain the UK, according to evidence uncovered.

Lawyers, psychologists and campaigners claim that Home Office guidelines, stating that women have to prove they have been abused, mean that women are often forced to stay in dangerous situations because they are scared of being sent home.

Refuges are not an option, because asylum seekers – along with those who have legal right to remain but no recourse to public funds, such as women joining refugee husbands through family reunion – are unable to access refuge accommodation because of their immigration status.”

Nina Murray, Women's Policy Development Officer for Scottish Refugee Council said of the winning piece, “It’s such a compelling exposé of the many ways that women survivors with insecure immigration status fall through safety gaps in the UK response to violence against women.

The piece covers complex ground, exploring the impact of different immigration rules and the many barriers that women face accessing justice and support across the UK. It does so with clarity and accuracy, drawing on a wide range of experts for context.

The powerful case studies from Scotland, England and Northern Ireland go to the heart of women’s experiences with dignity and authenticity, challenging stereotypes and giving women who are so often silenced, the opportunity to have their voices heard. We particularly liked the powerful call to action contained in the piece and the use of illustrations. The beautifully drawn images not only protect survivors’ identities but bring to life the appalling situation that these women find themselves in, in the UK. It’s an outstanding piece of investigative journalism.”

Fiona Davidson, Director at The Ferret, said: “It feels absolutely wonderful for the Ferret to win this award, I’m immensely proud.

What the Ferret does is extremely important; it’s all about public interest journalism and speaking up for the powerless and holding those in power to account. Hopefully what [we] published on the plight of women and migration will help improve their situation in the future.”

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