Waiting in the Dark: how the asylum system dehumanises, disempowers and damages

People seeking asylum arrive in the UK with very little, having made long, perilous journeys to safety. War and persecution have forced them to flee the homes they love. They hope and expect that they will receive a compassionate welcome. But for too many, the asylum system that confronts them is a hostile one, characterised by long delays, poor decision-making and a total lack of information.

Between January and March 2018, Refugee Action spoke to 40 people who have first-hand experience of claiming asylum. During these interviews, we were told about traumatic encounters with the Home Office, as well as poor practice at all stages of an unfair and overly adversarial system. Our research reveals a process that damages, dehumanises and disempowers those who rely on it to make life-changing decisions.