Karishma Dharni

Transnational Marriage Abandonment

A New Form of Violence Against Women?

A Public Meeting on Thursday 4 February 2016, 6pm – 8pm
Committee Room 8, House of Commons, Westminster (Cromwell Green entrance)

Transnational marriage abandonment refers to the problem of the abandonment of foreign national wives in their country of origin by men who are nationals or residents of another country. SBS’ front line casework experience in the UK shows that transnational marriage abandonment in the Indian sub-continent is an emerging form of violence against women that occurs in transnational spaces due to the overlapping processes of migration and marriage. It is a gendered phenomenon and forms part of a continuum of violence and coercion experienced by women at the hands of abusive and exploitative partners. The transnational nature of this problem raises specific challenges for women seeking justice, mainly because it involves a number of jurisdictions. This gives individual nation states an excuse to avoid taking responsibility.

In contexts where marriage remains the primary marker of social status and identity for women, abandoned women have limited means of living independently or undertaking paid work. Women abandoned in their country of origin are often left at risk of poverty and destitution, social stigma, and domestic abuse. Due to state apathy and inadequate transnational legal mechanisms, they are unable to access their legal rights in relation to divorce and financial settlements.

The meeting will report on the findings of key research into the nature of transnational marriage abandonment in India, conducted by the University of Lincoln and Jawaharlal Nehru University, India. The meeting will hear about the specific experiences of women and explore options for seeking redress at legal and policy levels in the UK.


  • Naz Shah MP
  • Ravi Thiara of Warwick University
  • Survivor accounts
  • Pragna Patel, Southall Black Sisters
  • Sundari Anitha, University of Lincoln
  • Barry O’Leary, immigration solicitor at Wesley Gryk Solicitors LLP
  • Sulema Jahangir, family solicitor, Dawson Cornwall

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For further information contact:

Southall Black Sisters
21 Avenue Road

Tel: 02085719595
Email: [email protected]

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