The Impact Of Sexual Violence On The Maternal Health of Asylum Seekers and Refugees
Asylum seekers and Refugees are two of the most marginalised and vulnerable groups in society, who often flee their countries following experiences of conflict andviolence to seek sanctuary in the UK.
Previous research has highlighted that the needs of asylum seekers and refugees are often not met upon arrival in the UK, but there is a lack of research into maternal health needs specifically.
This paper explored the experiences and needs of asylum seekers and refugees in the UK,both broadly and with relevance to maternal health needs following experiences of violence. This was donefrom global, national and local perspectives, throughinterviews with asylum seekers and a review of the literature and publicationsavailable on the subject. It was found that despite the comparatively small asylum seeker and refugee populations in the UK, and the small proportion of applicants who are actually granted asylum, mistrust exists among the general public in the UK about the claims of these groups; an attitude propagated by the media.
Refugee and asylum seeker health needs,particularly the very sensitive and complex requirements of mothers with experience of violence (in the forms of rape and domestic abuse violence), were not always met by the asylum and health care systems, which was also illustrated by the case study.
The paper concluded by recommending the need for more research into the requirements of this vulnerable group, suggesting a need for more awareness and training in staff and the promotion of a more positive and empathic attitude towards asylum seekers and refugees as a whole.