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The research was carried out in the field by the SOGICA team members was of paramount importance due to the paucity of both quantitative and qualitative data. In addition to the documentary analysis of – inter alia – international, European and domestic case-law, policy documents, NGO reports, and case files, the analysis was based on:

  • 24 non-participant contextual observations (in the form of – direct and indirect – observations of SOGI asylum judicial hearings);
  • 143 interviews with policy-makers, decision-makers, members of the judiciary, legal representatives, NGO activists and SOGI asylum claimants;
  • 16 focus-groups with SOGI asylum claimants (at least three in each country).

Great care has been taken in designing the methodology to ensure that the empirical data would be sufficiently extensive and representative to achieve SOGICA’s objectives and provide valid answers to the research questions. SOGICA was committed to maintaining the highest ethical standards in this research, in accordance with ethical codes developed within the University of Sussex, which abides by a very rigorous ethical procedure. SOGICA also complied with national ethical procedures endorsed by the Socio-Legal Studies Association (SLSA) and the UK Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), and with the European Research Council ethics regulations and codes. Approval from the University of Sussex’ Ethics Committee was obtained in the project’s first year (certificate of approval for Ethical Review ER/NH285/1).

We started have calling for project participants in October 2017. We have met asylum claimants or refugees claiming on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity, people who work with or support SOGI asylum claimants and refugees, including lawyers, service providers, judges and NGO staff. All interviews were held on a strictly confidential basis and we gave potential interviewees full information about the research to help them decide whether to take part or not. The fieldwork took place across Europe:

  • Carmelo Danisi led the Italian case study. So, anyone who is interested in the Italian case study is asked to contact Carmelo. His email is c.danisi@sussex.ac.uk;
  • Nina Held carried out the German case study from Frankfurt. She can be reached at n.held@sussex.ac.uk;
  • Moira Dustin carried out the UK case study. She can be reached at m.dustin@sussex.ac.uk;
  • Nuno Ferreira led the field work at European and international level, interviewing stakeholders in the European Union, Council of Europe, UN High Commissioner for Refugees, and activists and experts working at those levels. Nuno can be contacted on N.Ferreira@sussex.ac.uk.

More generally, in the spirit of knowledge exchange, we have been keen to collaborate with research participants and stakeholders throughout the project, and we have tried to make this engagement a genuinely two-way process. We hope that our database of resources on this website, which will continue to be updated after the formal end of the SOGICA project, will be useful for asylum claimants, practitioners and researchers alike. Although the project has ended, we would be happy to give presentations about the project, contribute to workshops and training, or support European SOGI, refugee and migrant organisations in other ways through our work.

Although the SOGICA team is no longer looking for people willing to be interviewed or take part in a focus group, feel free to contact us. If you would like us to support your organisation, then please contact the SOGICA team. We will be glad to answer to any call for support.

Freedom of Information requests

In 2019, the SOGICA project, in collaboration with partner organisations, submitted Freedom of Information requests about SOGI asylum to the relevant government departments in Germany, Italy and the UK with varying degrees of success.


SOGICA prepared questions for a parliamentary request that was submitted by Ulla Jelpke and others, Die Linke, on 17 May 2019.

The government responded on 6 June 2019.


A Request to the Ministry of Internal Affairs was submitted on 21 February and shared with UNHCR (Italy). As of October 2020, no response had been received.


A Request to the Home Office was first submitted on 29 January, resubmitted with clarifications on 8 February and a revised version submitted 19 February 2019; a partial response was received on 14 March with an accompanying spreadsheet and a second response received on 17 June 2019.

A request to the Home Office specifically regarding detention was made on 31 January 2019; a response was received on 5 March 2019.

A request to the Ministry of Justice was submitted 29 January 2019; a response was received on 22 February 2019.


Fieldwork materials 

Interview and observation guides