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New campaign launches to end asylum seeker destitution following GCU research

04 April 2013

Stop Destitution uses evidence from GCU research

Stop Destitution uses evidence from GCU research

A campaign to end destitution amongst asylum seekers in Scotland has been launched on the back of research from Glasgow Caledonian University.

Established by the Scottish Refugee Council, British Red Cross and Refugee Survival Trust, Stop Destitution has been using evidence from research they commissioned from GCU’s Scottish Poverty Information Unit.

The report, Trapped: Destitution and Asylum in Scotland, carried out by lead researcher Morag Gillespie, identified one in four of those who seek help from refugee support agencies in Glasgow as destitute – a total of 148 people. The average time destitute was one and a half years, though one survey participant had been destitute for as long as six and a half years. 

“The research arose because organisations supporting destitute asylum seekers wanted to work with the Scottish Poverty Information Unit to explore destitution in a way that included analysis from an understanding of poverty as well as the asylum system and the way that it fails people,” explained Morag.

“It involved a survey of destitute people using services that support asylum seekers and refugees in one week in March 2012 and some interviews with people with experience of destitution.”

The research and campaign have gained widespread positive media coverage and have been used in debates in both the Scottish and UK parliaments.

“They were the inspiration for a BBC4 play on asylum and destitution, the Spare Room, by playwright Olivier Emmanuel, in February and most recently the research has featured in a Newsnight feature on destitution and asylum in Scotland,” added Morag.

Morag was also invited to speak about the research at a European homelessness network conference (FEANTSA) in November in Barcelona and is likely to be called to give evidence in court as an expert witness in support of someone facing eviction.