This evaluation report explores the impact of the UK wide Violence against Women and Girls (VAWG), Immigration and No Recourse to Public Funds (NRPF) Project conducted by Southall Black Sisters (SBS).
The aims of the Project, funded by the Tampon Tax Fund (commissioned by the Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport) and conducted 2017-19, were to implement and evaluate a pilot to provide women surviving or at risk of VAWG and on non-spousal visas with NRPF with housing and subsistence costs. It also aimed to assess the effectiveness of the Destitution Domestic Violence Concession (DDVC) for those on spousal visas and consider any further measures needed to address problems in the scheme.
The pilot involved the expansion of the existing SBS No Recourse Fund (NRF), established in 2009. The NRF pays for accommodation and subsistence for those with NRPF for up to three months. The evaluation found the NRF to be a vital safety net which enabled women and children to escape domestic abuse and prevent destitution. The wraparound support provided in kind by the Project also enabled them to recover and rebuild their lives, particularly once they obtained a secure immigration status through SBS advocacy, and legal advice and assistance.
However, the evaluation found that survivors needed more financial support for longer as refuge accommodation can be expensive in some areas of the UK, and some refuges felt they could not take the risk of providing housing without funding for longer than three months. Those on complex spousal and on non-spousal visas typically required assistance from the NRF for six to eight months.
The evaluation makes a number of recommendations for reform, including extension of the DDVC to all women with NRPF who have an insecure immigration status and are being subjected to gender violence, and the extension of the DDVC to 6-8 months.
For further information, contact Dr Hannana Siddiqui: [email protected]