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Home Office: Tell us the truth about women in Yarl's Wood

This petition had 1,824 supporters

I’m Radhika, a Telegraph Women journalist who often writes about Yarl’s Wood – the UK immigration removal centre that has been labelled “a place of national concern”.

I’m calling for the Home Office to tell us the truth about what is happening to women there. I want to know how widespread the problem of sexual abuse and harassment is, and how many pregnant women are locked up – despite current guidelines recommending they not be put into detention.  

I’ve visited Yarl’s Wood there and seen first-hand the awful conditions women there are forced to endure. I’ve heard stories about detainees jumping from staircases to avoid being forcibly removed, pregnant women locked up for months on end, high rates of self-harm and, most shocking of all, allegations of sexual abuse at the hands of male guards.

These stories back up a recent review, which found that actions have been taken against 28 members of Yarl’s Wood staff since 2007, following allegations and incidents of misconduct and inappropriate behaviour - including relationships with detainees.

We know there are problems – but we don’t know the full extent. We don’t know if women have been raped inside Yarl’s Wood, or how many are heavily pregnant.

Why? Because the Home Office won’t tell us.

The Government has refused to disclose this information. This is not good enough. The women detained inside Yarl’s Wood deserve transparency – and so do we. The British public has a right to know what is happening inside immigration removal centres – so we can start to do something about it.

That’s why I’m petitioning Theresa May to tell us the truth about women inside Yarl’s Wood. Join me. 

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