The testimonies on this site are the real-life accounts of people who have fled torture to find safety in the UK.
Two years have passed since the Windrush scandal was exposed, yet ‘Beyond Belief’ reveals that the Home Office’s promise to create an environment where people are treated with ‘respect, dignity and fairness”, has been broken.
Vulnerable asylum seekers are still being failed by the system. Too many struggle to have their stories heard because of the culture of disbelief at the Home Office and are being retraumatised and forced into the agonising limbo of a lengthy appeal.
When being believed is a matter of life and death, taking a small action to say ‘I Believe You’ can make a big difference.
What is the asylum interview?
The Asylum Interview is a crucial part of the UK’s asylum process.
To become a refugee in the UK, asylum seekers must demonstrate why they need protection in an interview with a Home Office caseworker. In this interview, they must explain in detail how they have been treated in the past and why they fear further persecution in the future if returned to their home country. The evidence given in the interview is used to decide whether their story is true and they need protection.
Why is the asylum interview so important?
For people fleeing torture, the stakes on entering an asylum interview are extraordinarily high. It is the first, and often the only, real chance they have to explain to the Home Office what happened to them, and the reasons they are afraid to return to their home country.
The Home Office recognises that the ability of the caseworker to establish the full facts of the asylum seeker’s claim, including by creating “a positive and secure environment” where claimants are treated with “respect, dignity and fairness”, is key in achieving a solid foundation for fair consideration of a claim.
Through the stories of those who have been through the system, you will discover that this is not the reality for many asylum seekers.
This short animation film was made by survivors in the 'Write to Life’ group in collaboration with Art Therapy at Freedom from Torture.
We conducted research into the pivotal element of the asylum process in the UK - the asylum interview, on the back of our ‘Lessons Not Learned’ report, which exposed historical and systemic failures of asylum decision-making in the UK
This research is grounded in the experiences of Freedom from Torture clients. It uncovered serious flaws in the way the Home Office conducts asylum interviews, which often has grave consequences for torture survivors.
What can I do to help torture survivors?
You’ve heard stories from survivors and you’ve read the report.
Now it’s time to take action. Check out three ways you can help.
How can I share my story?
If you’re someone who has been through the asylum system and you have a story to share, you can share it with us here.
Your story will not be published immediately and we will make sure that when we do publish it, it remains completely anonymous.
Your application might have been pending for years, or you might have had an issue with your interpreter too. We want to hear from you to keep the ‘I believe you’ site as a living and breathing entity - a collective place to share experiences of the asylum interview.