Help women with no recourse to public funds
These women are effectively denied access to routes to safety that are available to other victims of abuse.
The Domestic Abuse Bill currently making its way through Parliament has been described as a ‘once-in-a-generation’ opportunity to provide safety and protection to survivors of domestic abuse.
However, as it stands, it does not include protection for migrant women suffering domestic abuse, some of whom find themselves trapped in dangerous and abusive circumstances because their immigration status says ‘No Recourse to Public Funds’.
These women are not allowed any protection by the state and so are effectively denied access to routes to safety that are available to other victims of abuse.
On Monday, 6 July 2020, this Bill will reach a critical stage – the Report Stage – of the Domestic Abuse Bill that will see amendments being tabled before all MPs for a vote.
This is a vital opportunity, as MPs will vote for the three amendments outlined below, which, if passed, can strengthen existing provisions for the protection and support of migrant survivors of abuse.
Please can you write to your MP and ask them to vote for these three amendments at the Report Stage:
New Clause 22: Recourse to public funds for domestic abuse survivors.
This seeks to ensure that certain provisions under the Immigration Acts – including exclusion from public funds, certain types of support and assistance and the right to rent – do not apply to survivors of domestic abuse. There will be a review into the operation of this provision after 12 months of the Act being passed.
New Clause 26: To enable domestic abuse survivors to apply for indefinite leave to remain.
This clause would make provision in the immigration rules for the granting of indefinite leave to remain to migrant survivors of domestic abuse and limited leave to remain to a survivor who is eligible to make an application for indefinite leave to remain.
New Clause 27: To protect domestic abuse survivors from data-sharing agreements without consent.
This clause would require the Secretary of State to make arrangements to ensure that the personal data of migrant survivors of domestic abuse that is given or used for the purpose of their seeking or receiving support and assistance is not used for immigration control purposes.
To find your local MP, please click here and enter your postcode.
The two women’s rights groups working on this particular campaign, Southall Black Sisters and the Step Up Migrant Women coalition, have provided a template email for you to send, which you can see here.
For further information about the Domestic Abuse Bill and the issues of concern to Southall Black Sisters and the Step Up Migrant Women coalition, please see their briefing papers here and here.
You can also read about why the £1.5million pilot project announced by the government is a wholly unsatisfactory and discriminatory proposal by clicking here.
You could also donate to the fundraiser set up to raise £10,000 to support women and children fleeing domestic violence and abuse but have no recourse to public funds during Covid-19.