It was six months until I heard anything from the interview. When I saw the refusal letter, I could see plainly that my whole story wasn’t on there.

My name is Srika. I’m 24. In my country, I’m from a minority ethnic group. We have to fight to have any rights. I wanted to do something about it, I wanted to make my voice heard - so I attended protests on behalf of my people. I wanted to enjoy the same rights as everyone else.

I was captured and detained for wanting to be heard. In detention, I was tortured.

That is why I am seeking asylum in the UK.

In order to claim asylum, you have to go through a series of interviews and screenings at the Home Office and recall some of the most painful experiences of your life.

As I sat down in the small room, I felt tense and nervous. I had so much going on in my head and it was difficult to answer the questions.

I have so many feelings about my story, but I couldn’t tell anyone how I felt because I wasn’t even asked.

- Srika

They just ask generic questions to give you a score, jumping between questions when you’re trying to talk about some of the most difficult experiences in your life.

In my screening interview, they were very hard, rude even. So I wasn’t able to disclose anything to them, I couldn’t because I wasn’t given the space.

I came from a bad situation, yet the interviewer spoke with no sympathy.

Sometimes, when I tried to disclose what had happened to me, she yawned. I found that so difficult because this interview was the most important interview of my life. Can you imagine?

Between the anxiety and the yawning, I couldn’t get my words out, I couldn’t speak some parts of what had happened to me. So I’m struggling, she’s expecting me to tell her something…but I couldn’t. I felt so uncomfortable.

It was very tough for me, she wasn’t interested in my story, and she found it very boring... so I was really upset about it and her behaviour really affected me. I wanted to say “please can you listen to me?” but I couldn’t.

I also submitted medical evidence of my torture to accompany my claim, but the Home Office still rejected me.

- Srika

It was six months until I heard anything from the interview. When I saw the refusal letter, I could see plainly that my whole story wasn’t on there.

I had to appeal the decision and I’ve had to wait such a long time between every stage of the process.

Appealing the decision has been very hard for me because I’ve become very depressed. It’s overwhelming.

I’ve had to live in limbo for a few years.

Now, I attend college where I’m learning English but my real interest is in science. I would love to go to university to study it in the future.

‘Beyond Belief’ is a new report into the experience of the asylum interview of torture survivors seeking asylum in the UK. It calls for fundamental culture change at the Home Office.

For people fleeing persecution, the stakes of an asylum interview with the Home Office are extraordinarily high. It is the primary opportunity for survivors to explain what happened to them and why are afraid to return to their home country. If it is done badly, it can mean that someone is sent back to torture and persecution.