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Title: Reason to (Dis)Believe? Evaluating the Rape Claims of Women Seeking Asylum in the UK
Authors: Munro, Vanessa E.
Cowan, S.
Baillot, H.
First Published: 31-Jan-2014
Publisher: Cambridge University Press (CUP): HSS Journals
Citation: International Journal of Law in Context, 2014, 10 (1), pp. 105-139
Abstract: Asylum applicants in the UK must show, to a ‘reasonable degree of likelihood’, a well-founded fear of persecution, on the basis of race, religion, political opinion or membership of a particular social group, in the event of return ‘home’. This requirement presents myriad challenges both to claimants and decision-makers. Based on findings from a three-year national study, funded by the Nuffield Foundation, this paper explores those challenges as they relate to women seeking asylum in the UK whose applications include an allegation of rape. The study explored the extent to which difficulties relating to disclosure and credibility, which are well documented in the context of women's sexual assault allegations in the criminal justice system, might be replicated and compounded for female asylum-seekers whose applications include a claim of rape. Findings suggest that the structural and practical obstacles faced in establishing credibility, and the existence of scepticism about rape claims and asylum-seeking more generally, mean that decision-making can often be experienced as arbitrary, unjust, uninformed or contradictory, making it difficult for women asylum applicants who allege rape to find refuge in the UK.
DOI Link: 10.1017/S1744552313000396
ISSN: 1744-5523
eISSN: 1744-5531
Version: Post-print
Status: Peer-reviewed
Type: Journal Article
Rights: Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2014. Deposited with reference to the publisher’s open access archiving policy, available at This version may have been revised following peer review but may be subject to further editorial input by Cambridge University Press.
Appears in Collections:Published Articles, School of Law

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