The Hidden Struggle-Supporting Vulnerable Immigrant Victims of Domestic Violence
- The Local MP and the Government
- United Kingdom
The 'no recourse to public funds' requirement bars anyone entering the UK on the basis of marriage from relying on public housing or benefits until their immigration position is regularised after a two-year probationary period. This forces abused women into positions of economic dependency on the settled spouse or partner.
In 2002, following immense pressure, the government introduced the 'domestic violence rule' in immigration law, which states that if a person married or living with a settled partner can provide specific evidence to demonstrate that she/he is a victim of domestic violence and meet other conditions, she/he can remain in the UK indefinitely. But for a significant number of women, the existence of the 'no recourse to public funds' requirement in immigration and welfare law, prevents them from making use of the domestic violence rule because they cannot access safe housing or benefits to escape domestic violence. The result is that they are faced with a stark choice, leave and face destitution or stay and risk their lives. This enhances the power of violent perpetrators and allows them to abuse with impunity whilst at the same time increasing the vulnerability of the unsettled spouse or partner.
A recent study collating data from 13 Black Minority Ethnic Refugee specialist refuges and domestic violence organisations based in London highlighted that 637 women and children approached refuges, LA Social Services and Housing departments.
Not all the groups record data on number of women housed. The data from 10 groups indicates that out of 429 referrals –only 9% of these women were housed and 91% were not housed and were referred to other services. In most cases, refuges did not record numbers of children - 6 refuges recorded numbers of children and it was found that of those women with children not accommodated 37 women had children. Of those women not housed there is no indication of where these women and children went. Most cases of no recourse to public funds are supported by Black Minority Ethnic Refugee projects.
WHERE IS HUMANITY?
ACT NOW TO ABOLISH THE DOUBLE STANDARDS FACED BY VICTIMS OF DOMESTIC VIOLENCE WHO HAVE RESTRICTED IMMIGRATION STATUS
They have ‘No Recourse’ to public funds which means that the victims CANNOT access safe housing, refuges or benefits to escape
The result is that they are faced with a stark choice:
LEAVE AND FACE DESTITUTION
STAY AND RISK THEIR LIVES WHICH COULD ALSO LEAD TO DEATH
We, at the Domestic Violence Integrated Response Project (DVIRP), urge you to kindly support our campaign to abolish ‘No Recourse’ for victims of domestic violence by signing this petition. Every week we support an average of 4 women on our domestic violence helpline with unsettled immigration status and they endure the most horrific abuse imaginable: imprisonment in the home, slavery, starvation, burns and other physical injuries and acute mental distress.
And yet because of their immigration status and limited public funding, we are faced with an uphill struggle to support these women with basic humanitarian support such as emergency accommodation and welfare service provisions.
JOIN US IN OUR CAMPAIGN TO ABOLISH THE ‘NO RECOURSE’ REQUIREMENT FOR THOSE WHO EXPERIENCE VIOLENCE IN THE CONTEXT OF A DOMESTIC RELATIONSHIP.
BY SIGNING THIS PETITION / DONATING TO OUR WELFARE FUND YOU CAN HELP US IN OUR CAMPAIGN TO SUPPORT THESE WOMEN TO ACCESS EFFECTIVE PROTECTION AND TO PROTECT THEIR FUNDAMENTAL HUMAN RIGHTS OF LIVING FREE FROM ABUSE AND VIOLENCE.
The The Hidden Struggle-Supporting Vulnerable Immigrant Victims of Domestic Violence petition to The Local MP and the Government was written by Mega Arumugam and is in the category Government at GoPetition.