Frankie Favia

Harmful Changes to Support Provisions for Migrant Victims of Domestic Abuse

As of today, the government has implemented changes to the Migrant Victims of Domestic Abuse Concession (MVDAC), formerly known as the Destitute Domestic Violence Concession (DDVC). The changes will result in the extension of the MVDAC to partners of worker and student visa holders with no recourse to public funds (NRPF). This will entitle them to receive benefits and housing and limited leave to remain for 3 months. However, unlike the previous cohort the MVDAC extended to, namely those on spousal/partner visas, this new cohort will not be eligible to apply for settlement under the Domestic Violence Indefinite Leave to Remain (DVILR) rule.

This creates a cliff edge at the end of 3 months for these migrant victim-survivors and will prevent many victim-survivors from reporting abuse due to fear of deportation. Disjoining the MVDAC from the DVILR also creates a separate route with repercussions that victim-survivors will need specialist advice on to make informed decisions from a sector that has been adversely impacted by austerity and funding cuts. Moreover, though the Support for Migrant Victims (SMV) pilot forms the basis of the government’s decision, it ignores two independent evaluations that recommend the extension of the combined MVDAC-DVILR model.

Southall Black Sisters (SBS) are gravely concerned about these changes due to the harms they pose for migrant victim-survivors of domestic abuse and strongly oppose them. Our position is supported by the Changemakers Project, which includes the Latin American Women’s Rights Service (LAWRS), Safety4Sisters and Ubuntu Women Shelter. It is also supported by Rights of Women (ROW).

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