This is the joint website of  Women Against Rape and Black Women's Rape Action Project. Both organisations are based on self-help and provide support, legal information and advocacy. We campaign for justice and protection for all women and girls, including asylum seekers, who have suffered sexual, domestic and/or racist violence.

WAR was founded in 1976. It has won changes in the law, such as making rape in marriage a crime, set legal precedents and achieved compensation for many women. BWRAP was founded in 1991. It focuses on getting justice for women of colour, bringing out the particular discrimination they face. It has prevented the deportation of many rape survivors. Both organisations are multiracial.




Women Against Rape

Grassroots multi-racial women's group founded in 1976. Offers counselling, support, legal advocacy and information to women and girls who have been raped or sexually assaulted.

Demanding an Inquiry into what happens to women removed from the UK

Though we and others have been able to help many women seeking asylum get released from detention and have their claims looked at again, some women and their families are removed from the UK without having had the legal help they needed. Many women are sent back because they are told they will be safe in another part of the country they fled. But those who have kept in touch with us report a very different experience: rape and other violence, including in detention; destitution; begging or prostitution are often the only way they can survive. We are in touch with several women in this situation, and are documenting the lack of support and the danger they face. The Home Office refuses to investigate what happens to those it removes. We demand an inquiry into what happens to the women, children and men the Home Office removes from the UK.


End the detention of rape survivors

YWProtest6920small.jpgResearch we helped carry out found that 70% of women detained in Yarl’s Wood Immigration Removal Centre are rape survivors*. Most women detained there can’t get the independent medical or psychiatric reports needed to document their experiences and have poor or no legal representation. Women report lack of medical care, even where serious health problems are concerned, as well as racism and abuse from staff. BWRAP and WAR help run a daily rota of volunteers who help women in detention to pursue their claims and access services they desperately need. We helped a woman win £38 000 in compensation after she had been unlawfully detained. We have stopped removals of women and their families, often at the last minute.
*A Bleak House of our times, Legal Action for Women, 2005


Asylum from rape

77% of rape survivors refused asylum

70% of women seeking asylum in the UK have suffered rape and other sexual violence. But women seeking safety for themselves and their children face the same uncaring injustice as women who are raped in the UK. Despite national and international legal precedents recognising gender-based persecution, rape victims still face great obstacles in claiming protection.

Rape survivors are often denied expert reports which could corroborate their claims and are frequently accused by the authorities and Immigration Judges of fabricating their account of what has happened to them. See our research documenting this. Most women also experience bad legal representation.


Compensation (character & conduct campaign)

If you have suffered rape or assault, like any other victim of crime, it is your right to apply to the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA) for compensation for your injuries and to help with your recovery. Throughout the legal process our sexual and medical histories are often used to humiliate, demean and dismiss us. Our 'character and conduct' can similarly be used to deny us compensation by the CICA, thus discriminating against rape survivors who may have unrelated convictions for prostitution, shop-lifting or possession of cannabis. We have had to challenge the CICA for refusing or reducing awards on these grounds, and we are pressing for their discretion to make such judgements to be curtailed.

If you have been denied compensation and/or want to support this campaign, contact us.


Demanding Justice and protection (Police and CPS)

Name and shame

Only 6.5% of reported rapes end in conviction. Compare this to crime in general where the conviction rate is 34%.
Using London (which has a better than average record) as the example:
a) In 2010 -11 there were 3312 reported rapes.
b) Police no-crimed 9.6 % (national average 11.7%).
c) Only 1386 –or 42 % of the crimed cases – were referred to the CPS. (so police closed 1926)
d) The CPS only prosecuted 861 of the cases that were referred to them. So of those referred, the CPS prosecuted 62%
e) That is, only 26 % or ¼ reported cases were prosecuted.

With the conviction rate at only 6.5% all survivors of sexual violence are up against entrenched institutional sexism from the legal, immigration and compensation authorities. We are disbelieved and treated disrespectfully throughout the legal process, including when:


Safety First coalition

After the tragic murders of five young women sex workers in Ipswich we joined the Safety First Coalition, which was set up by the English Collective of Prostitutes. The Coalition has broad support including from the Royal College of Nursing, probation officers, members of the Church, trade unions, peers and MPs. The Coalition promotes the safety and welfare of sex workers. We have taken up the cases of several women who due to discrimination were unable to get protection from violence. Read more about the Coalition at


End the use of women’s sexual history in court and ‘belief in consent’

In rape trials, victims of rape have traditionally been questioned about their sexual history. Defence barristers imply that if you have slept with several men, or if you have a “reputation” or, for instance, if you are a young single woman who has a child, then you are more likely to have consented to sex with the accused. The Youth Justice & Criminal Evidence Act 1999 introduced some restrictions on such questioning, which trashes the rape survivor’s character in front of the jury. The Act could have protected the right to a fair trial of both the victim and the defendant. But the government, ignoring the protests and lobbying of our grassroots women’s campaign, instead brought in a complicated law, which is often manipulated or simply ignored, without the judge or prosecution even protesting.


Rape victims with petty convictions denied compensation

In the Media

The Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority routinely refuses to make awards to women who have committed minor offences

Getting convicted for shoplifting could result in reduced compensation awards for rape. Photograph: Alamy

Frankie Mullin
Tuesday 17 March 2015 14.09 GMTLast modified on Tuesday 17 March 201514.44 GMT

Pauline Doyle was gang-raped as a teenager. After the attack, life slipped increasingly from her control. She was failed by numerous agencies and, for 19 years, was addicted to heroin and crack, supporting her habit in any way she could.


Government ‘Response’ To Child Rape Is A Smokescreen

In the Media

Morning Star 12 MARCH 2015

LISA LONGSTAFF from Women Against Rape and CRISTEL AMISS of the Black Women’s Rape Action Project examine the state’s attempts at obfuscation

Far from tackling rape, the government’s response to the review into the child rape epidemic in Oxford is a merely smokescreen to “manage” the outcry.

The government proposes to make it compulsory to report any underage sexual activity as child abuse. But this would increase the power of the state to control children rather than the power of children and their families to get justice.
It also hides child rape, calling it abuse or exploitation instead. And it disconnects child survivors from adult survivors, especially women. And let’s not forget that only 5.7 per cent of recorded rape ends in conviction and that 90 per cent of rapists get away with it.


WAR’s comment on the government response to the serious case review about Oxford

The government’s response to today’s review of child rape in Oxford about an epidemic of rape of children, especially those in care, is a smokescreen to manage the outcry rather than deal with the rape.

In response to the Oxford rape and child abuse, the government proposes to make it compulsory to report any underage sexual activity as child abuse. This is another smokescreen aimed at increasing the power of the state to control children rather than the power of children and their families to get justice. It is also a way of hiding child rape (calling it abuse or exploitation instead), and of disconnecting the neglect of the rape of young girls and boys from the neglect of rape of adults, especially of women. Let´s not forget that only 6.7% of rape ends in conviction and that 90% of rapists get away with it. (‘Why do the police deal with rape cases so badly?’)

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