Karishma Dharni

#ProtectionForAll: Domestic Abuse Bill & Migrant Women

The government published its long-awaited Domestic Abuse Bill earlier this year. But what protection does it offer migrant women subject to abuse and the ‘no recourse to public funds’ requirement?

Southall Black Sisters and the Latin American Women’s Rights Service are jointly hosting a public meeting to urgently discuss the failure of the Domestic Abuse Bill to properly include migrant women from state protective measures for abused women. What we have is a draft Bill that utterly fails to deliver anything of substance, especially for migrant women. Only two pages out of the 196-page government response are devoted to migrant women. As things stand, abused migrant women who are at risk of the most serious and prolonged forms of abuse, slavery and harm cannot access justice or protection if they have unsettled immigration status. They are effectively excluded from the few protective measures that are contained in the Bill.

This deeply disappointing Bill comes at a time when the government is seeking to ratify The Council of Europe Convention on Preventing and Combating Violence against Women and Domestic Violence 2011 (‘the Istanbul Convention’). Yet by excluding migrant women from the scope of protection, the government stands in breach of potential human rights violations contained in the Istanbul Convention and other domestic and international human rights standards.

SBS has prepared a briefing paper in which we call for a series of amendments to the Bill to ensure that abused migrant women have the same rights to safety and dignity as other abused women. These amendments seek to:

  • extend eligibility under the DV Rule;
  • extend the timeframe for which the DDVC is available; and
  • compel the government to put forward a comprehensive strategy to support and protect migrant women suffering abuse – regardless of migration/refugee status – before Parliament within a specified timeframe

(Our full briefing paper is available on request)

It is vital that no abused woman is left behind when seeking protection and this must be enshrined in the Domestic Abuse Bill.

Please show your support for these amendments and for our campaign #ProtectionForAll to ensure that migrant women are included in the Domestic Abuse Bill.

Help us say no more. No more must migrant and refugee women be treated as second class human beings. No more must migrant and refugee women be afforded lesser rights and protections than other abused women in society. No more should the basic human right to be safe from domestic abuse and torture be dependent on visa status.

Meeting on the Domestic Abuse Bill and Migrant Women

Date: Mon, 18 March 2019

Time: 2pm – 4pm

Venue: Committee Room 14, Houses of Parliament, Westminster SW1A 0AA

Directions to the Houses of Parliament

Speakers include:


Southall Black Sisters

Latin American Women’s Rights Service

Carolyn Harris MP

Jess Phillips MP

Dr Philippa Whitford MP

Dr Ravi Thiara, Associate Professor at University of Warwick

Dr. Cathy McIlwaine, Professor of Development Geography at Kings College London

and others (tbc)

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