Karishma Dharni

Migrant Women and Gender-Based Violence

SBS is in the process of responding to the government’s consultation on the Domestic Violence Bill. Some people have asked us to share the recommendations that we will be making in relation to, gender-based violence, migrant women and their right to access protection. We set out below the key demands that we will be making.

  • There is an urgent need for one coherent over-arching policy of protection and rights for all migrant women suffering gender-based violence (including women with insecure status and asylum seeking women);
  • Abolish the ‘no recourse to public funds’ restriction for all migrant women and children subject to gender-based violence;
  • Extend the DV Rule and DDV concession to include all migrant women and children irrespective of their visa status and extend the DDV Concession to longer than three months’ leave;
  • Reform housing and social security laws and policies vital to prevent abused migrant women and children plunging into poverty and destitution. This would include refuge places for all migrant women suffering domestic abuse with access to a specialist, properly resourced link advocates;
  • Provide clear statutory guidance to the police, social services and health services to protect and assist victims of domestic abuse and their children, regardless of immigration status. This means delinking immigration enforcement from the protection principle underpinning such services;
  • Develop safe and confidential reporting systems for victims with insecure immigration status;
  • End the inhumane practice of detention for women who have suffered domestic abuse and other forms of gender-based violence;
  • End the policy of dispersal for abused female asylum seekers;
  • Greater inclusion of foreign spouses in the visa application process, at both the stage of application and curtailment, so that they are aware of their rights;
  • Provide temporary visas for women who have entered the UK on spousal visas and are taken to another country and abandoned there so they can come back into the UK to exercise their rights;
  • Institute ring-fenced funding for specialist BME services and refugees based on history and track record of working to further equality and human rights of women.

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