Karishma Dharni

SBS’s Victory against Ealing Council

Download Lord Justice Moses’s full judgement

On 18 July at the High Court, in a dramatic turn of events, Ealing Council withdrew their case after one and a half days of a hearing which saw their defence rapidly unravelling. From the outset, it became apparent to the presiding judge, Lord Justice Moses and to all those present in the courtroom including the packed public gallery, that Ealing Council was skating on really thin ice in attempting to justify its decision to cut funding to SBS and to commission instead one generic borough wide service on domestic violence on the grounds of ‘equality’ and ‘cohesion’.

When we began the process of challenging Ealing Council exactly one year ago, we were not sure where our journey would lead us. We received tremendous support from our users and many, many other individuals and organisations along the way. It is impossible to list everyone who supported us but we really would not have come this far without such encouragement and support. Above all, the support that we received reminded us of our responsibility in building a civil society based on the principles of justice, equality and humanity.We thank you all for making this victory possible.

Southall Black Sisters – Our tradition: Struggle Not Submission.

Read all about the victoryor read the full written judgement of Lord Justice Moses. We hope the judgment will help other organisations to fight any funding cuts that they may be facing. If you use the judgement then pleaselet SBS know.

Picture Credit:Ealing Times

In April 2008: No Recourse campaign update


There is now less than a week to go until the Abolish No Recourse Day of Action on the 23rd April! Please put the date in your diary.

Taking Action:

The campaign resource pack is available here. The pack contains:

– A brief background on no recourse to public funds

– Details of the Day of Action

– Actions you can take, plus tips on meeting with and lobbying your MP.

– Case studies and examples of other organisations actions.

– Charities and campaigning.

– A template letter, press release and model resolution

– Fact sheet on the issues to help you campaign.

– Links to further resources and a list of affiliated individuals and groups.

On the Day:

The plan for the Day of Action is to assemble at 11.00am for a demonstration at 11.30-12.30 on the Embankment opposite Portcullis House, Westminster,London (nearest tube Westminster) we were not able to get permission to gather in Parliament Square. A big, bold and beautiful banner is being made by an Amnesty artist. Please wear black on the day.

The public meeting will begin at 1pm in Portcullis House, details of the speakers will follow shortly.

If you organising a coach party for the day of action on the 23rd, please make sure your coach company arranges a place to park, as this may need to be booked in advance!

Tell us about your actions!

See theHow Can I Support Her? Domestic Violence, immigration and women with no recourse to public funds’ Resource Packfor comprehensive information for voluntary and community organisations supporting women with insecure immigration status who are experiencing domestic violence.

In February 2008: Marriage to Partners From Overseas – Border and Immigration Agency consultation (closed)

No doubt many of you were aware of the proposals contained in this consultation document on marriage to overseas partners. The deadline for the response was 27 February 2008 but you can still download the Southall Black Sisters letter outlining the main issues and SBS’s position or the BIA Proforma for responses

See theForced Marriage campaign section

for more on this issue.

In April 2007: PROVOKED: The story of Kiranjit Ahluwalia is now available. Order your copy now. 

Kiranjit’s was the first case in which Southall Black Sisters supported and campaigned on behalf of a battered woman who had killed her husband.

Now she has written her story of the case that has become legal history and paved the way for other women in Kiranjit’s situation to win justice.

In February 2007: To register with the Home Office as an approved Domestic Violence organisation providing evidence under the Domestic Violence Immigration Rule complete the declaration form. Visit the services section to find out more and download the form.

In October 2006 we launched the How Can I Support Her? Domestic Violence, immigration and women with no recourse to public funds’ Resource Pack. This resource pack for voluntary and community organisations gives comprehensive information for voluntary and community organisations supporting women with insecure immigration status who are experiencing domestic violence. It covers how to make applications under the Domestic Violence Rule, information on other immigration and asylum procedures, and details of financial support that women may be eligible for.Taking Action:

In October 2006 we also launched the ‘Campaign to abolish no recourse to public funds’ leaflet. This campaign brings together key women’s organisations to highlight the devastating impact of the ‘no recourse’ requirement on the lives of minority women without secure immigration status who are subject to domestic violence.
Visit the campaigns section to find out more, or publications to download a the flyer.

In January 2006, our film Love, Honour and Disobey was published by Faction Films. Love, Honour and Disobey is essential viewing for anyone who wants to understand domestic violence within black and minority ethnic communities. It will be useful for training teachers, social workers, police, lawyers, health workers and any other professionals, refuges and women’s groups.

On 25 November 2003, our book, From Homebreakers to Jailbreakers: Southall Black Sisters was published by Zed Press. This book sets out to map that terrain where race and gender make competing claims. It is written by SBS women and analyses the dilemmas we have faced in the last 24 years on a whole range of issues ranging from forced marriage to religious fundamentalism.

In December 2003 the Government introduced the Domestic Violence, Crime and Victims Bill. Although the Bill generally improves legal protection for victims of domestic violence it fails to address the needs of victims subject to immigration control who are trapped in abusive relationships, because they have no recourse to public funds. Southall Black Sisters has been lobbying for amendments to the Bill to enable these women to access benefits and emergency accommodation. You can support our campaign by writing to your M.P.

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