Impact of sexual violence on disclosure during Home Office interviews

Background Late disclosure ornondisclosure
is commonlycited as a reasonto doubt an
asylumseeker’s credibility, butdisclosure
maybe affected byother factors.
Aims To determinewhether andhow
sexualviolence affects asylumseekers’
disclosure ofpersonalinformation during
Method Twenty-sevenrefugees and
semi-structuredinterviews and selfreportmeasures.
Results Themajorityof participants
reported difficultiesin disclosing.Those
with a historyof sexualviolence reported
more difficultiesin disclosingpersonal
information duringHomeOffice
interviews,weremorelikely to dissociate
during theseinterviews and scored
significantlyhigheronmeasures of posttraumatic
stress symptoms and shame
thanthosewith a historyof non-sexual
Conclusions The results indicate the
importance of shame, dissociation and
psychopathologyin disclosure and
supportthe need forimmigration
procedures sensitive totheseissues.
Judgments that late disclosureis indicative
of a fabricated asylumclaimmusttakeinto
accountthe possibilityof factors relatedto
sexualviolence andthe circumstances of
theinterviewprocess itself.

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