To Mark Mental Health Awareness Week, we're sharing a piece about Yarl's Wood and the devastating impact detention has on the mental health of detainees. Originally published in our Mind Issue last year, this piece remains deeply urgent, as Yarl's Wood still stands and Britain creeps further toward punitive immigration policy.
International Women’s Day, 2016. As the government unveiled its ‘Strategy to end violence against women and girls: 2016-2020’, around one hundred women stood outside the Home Office in protest at the government’s treatment of refugee women in immigration detention. In between speeches by activists, former detainees, and a handful of politicians, the crowd rallied together chanting, “Theresa May, you are a woman too” and “Set Her Free”. The Set Her Free campaign, launched by Women for Refugee Women in 2013, has since become a rallying call for all those demanding an end to the policy of detaining asylum seekers.