It’s far from a complete solution, but it is progress: Preston Women’s Refuge has become the first in the country to open their doors to women with insecure immigration status.
Because of the ‘no recourse to public funds’ rule, women who have not successfully completed the immigration process are not able to make use of state-funded domestic violence refuges. In other cases, women may lose visas based on marriage to a UK citizen if they end the relationship.
This means women can be effectively cornered into staying in abusive situations.
According to the Lancashire Evening Post, Preston Women’s Refuge has managed to get around this problem by funding the service with a grant – but the story doesn’t state where the grant is from:
The refuge is already supporting two such women and has had 30 phone calls from other immigrants in just four weeks….
Safiya Badat, assistant director and immigration advisor, said: “Every year women who arrive in the UK as immigrants and asylum seekers experience domestic violence.
“Many women we support are married to or have relationship with a man who is a British citizen or who has settled status to reside in the UK.
Many of the women have children who are British Citizens, but none of these women have rights to public funds.
“As a result many women are trapped with a violent partner. They have a choice: stay in the relationship and risk their lives or leave and face deportation and destitution.”