Self Help Guides for Survivors

Justice is your right – A self help guide for survivors of rape and sexual assault and their supporters, by Women Against Rape. Updated edition, May 2020

This is a collective effort based on decades of experience of survivors and campaigners. It offers ways to tackle obstacles to justice you may face when reporting violence.

Click here to download the Self-Help Guide.

To order a paper copy, please send a cheque to ‘Women Against Rape’, PO Box 287, London NW6 5QU.
Prices: individuals £3; unfunded organisations £5; professionals or solidarity price £10. Free to women in prison.

NEWSFLASH JULY 2020: Please note there was a successful legal challenge to the police digital consent form (affecting their power to seize your phone and trawl your social media and other personal records), we will post updates about this when we know how this plays out.

What people say about the Guide:

“This Guide is lucid, it is clear, it is to the point. I recommend it.” Ian Macdonald QC

“People will grow in confidence and feel less intimidated by the authorities.” Sally Freeman, mother of rape survivor

“Knowing our rights can make the difference between winning and losing.” Cristel Amiss, Black Women’s Rape Action Project

Online Guide for Asylum Seekers and their Supporters: A Self-Help Guide Against detention & removal by Legal Action for Women: This new and updated step-by-step guide comes out of intensive work over many years with women (and some men) seeking asylum. BWRAP and WAR have contributed to the pool of practical knowledge which is an invaluable and essential tool for victims of rape and other torture. Available here.  To order a paper copy go to Crossroads Books online . Other Self-Help Tools are also available to download here


Please add some information about yourself and the reason you are writing.

Rt. Hon Priti Patel MP
Home Office
2 Marsham Street
London, SW1P 4DF


Dear Ms Patel,

I am writing to demand that you grant immediate, permanent and unconditional amnesty for all migrants and refugees currently living in the UK.

This pandemic has shown how dependent the UK is on migrant as essential workers in hospitals, social care, food supply, agriculture, transport and other areas. Yet there are up to one million undocumented migrants in the UK who are destitute and therefore at greater risk of contracting Covid-19 because they are being deprived of health care, housing and even food. Living in such conditions makes it impossible for people to self-isolate and abide by government social distancing advice. People are being forced to risk their own and the community’s health.

There is growing support for immigrant people being granted the right to stay and for an amnesty from deportation. Public pressure has already led to over 75% of people being released from immigration detention, the courts ruling that the ‘No Recourse to Public Funds’ Policy was illegal and most recently to your government being forced to scrap the surcharge that non-EU NHS staff have to pay.

We urge you to follow the lead given by the Portuguese and Italian governments and grant papers to all migrants currently living in the UK regardless of their immigration status, length of stay or financial situation.

Yours sincerely


The INTERNATIONAL NETWORK OF MIGRANTS AND ANTI-RACIST ORGANIZATIONS AND COLLECTIVES #PapersForAll demands immediate, permanent, and unconditional amnesty for all migrants and refugees at this time of a global pandemic and health emergency.   

Active in Europe, Latin America, the US and the UK – we are calling for everyone concerned with justice to join a Twitterstorm on Wednesday 27 May at 6pm to demand #PapersForAll.

In the UK up to one million undocumented destitute migrants are at risk of contracting Covid-19 but also of starvation because of the crisis created by the pandemic.

At the same time migrants have been more visible and valued than ever as essential workers — in hospitals, social care, food supply, agriculture, transport and other areas — keeping the society going. Over 17% of the social care work force and at least 40% of NHS workers in London are immigrants risking their lives to care for others. Many are the same Windrush and Commonwealth victims still fighting for their papers and compensation. And immigrant people are 63% of all those who have died within the medical profession.

Over 75% of women seeking asylum and refugees are survivors of rape and other torture.  Women, especially mothers, do the survival caring work that protects and holds together families and communities. As one woman asylum seeker said:
“Women like me were destitute and in “quarantine” long before COVID . . . we want our papers, access to accommodation and healthcare and financial security. People back in our home countries are in lock down in even worse conditions eking out a living from hand to mouth without food or running water – never mind hand sanitizer.” (Rubie, All African Women’s Group).

The current racist immigration bill under discussion will create more undocumented people and undermine people’s right to stay by removing free movement from all EU migrants.

Public pressure has won some victories:
• 75% of immigration detainees have been released, however, many have been forced into slum housing with little or no money to buy food and other essentials and where it is impossible to self-isolate or observe social distancing.
• The ‘No Recourse to Public Funds’ Policy has been ruled unlawful and free school meals for children re-instated
• The surcharge non-EU NHS staff had to pay, on top of visa fees and taxes, was finally scrapped last week

We draw strength from other countries. In Spain, pressure from 900 community organisations led to all detainees being released. In Italy migrant (mostly African) farm workers are courageously striking for fair pay and papers for all. In Portugal all immigrants and asylum seekers were granted residency and full citizens’ rights during the pandemic – we want this to be permanent and global!    We have a right to be here in Britain and anywhere we want — to access health care and protection, and to reclaim the wealth that our work has created. Governments and corporations have looted our home countries, for centuries, and that theft continues today, causing war, starvation and ecological devastation.

We call on all governments and international organisations to grant #PapersForAll #RegularizacionYa to asylum seekers, those in detention and all undocumented migrants.

TAKE ACTION with the #PapersForAll Network to demand an immediate, permanent and unconditional amnesty for all migrants and refugees in this time of a global pandemic and health emergency.

1. Please sign and circulate our international statement

2. On Wednesday at 6pm (UK time) tweet @pritipatel @ukhomeoffice  
Example tweets:
Immigrant people are essential workers risking their health to care for others yet are denied their rights. Grant #PapersForAll #RegularizacionYa

Over a million people are undocumented in the UK and denied healthcare, housing and an income & at risk of Covid19. Grant #PapersForAll #RegularizacionYa

Download and share the images here

3. Write to Home Secretary, Priti Patel – model letter here. (Please copy to

4. Sign the UK petition  
Please share this action with your networks!

Global Women Against Deportations
(a coalition of the All African Women’s Group, Legal Action for Women, Women Against Rape, Women of Colour/Global Women’s Strike) +44 (0) 7456525227
Payday Men’s