Vine, John and Independent Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration. an Investigation Into the Home Office’s Handling of Asylum Claims Made on the Grounds of Sexual Orientation: March-June 2014, 2014.

In February 2014 the Observer newspaper published an article which included an extract from an asylum interview during which an applicant had been asked inappropriate and sexually explicit questions by a Home Office caseworker. As a result of this, the Independent Chief Inspector was asked by the Home Secretary to investigate the Department’s handling of asylum claims made on the basis of sexual orientation (specifically claims based on grounds of being lesbian, gay or bisexual). Following changes to case law in 2010, the Home Office had worked effectively with stakeholders to produce specific guidance and training on the handling of sexual orientation claims. More recently, it had reviewed its guidance on both interviewing and the handling of sexual orientation claims, again working with relevant stakeholders. The Chief Inspector found the guidance concise and clear, addressing difficult areas with sensitivity and, in particular, emphasising that sexually explicit questions of the type highlighted in the Observer are never acceptable. Nevertheless, there are still some areas for improvement.