Migrant women who are victims of domestic violence would have a hard time getting help (Photo: Solace Women’s Aid).
Migrant women who are victims of domestic violence are denied shelter in shelters set up to help them isolate themselves, activists say.
Arbitrators and other domestic violence services say they have had to help women over the past year who have been rejected out of hand and often left homeless because they do not have access to government resources.
During the pandemic, 100% of the women who turned to Safety4Sisters were denied assistance because they had no legal right to government funds and no one really owed them anything, according to a migrant refugee.
One of his employees, Sandhya Sharma, told Metro.co.uk : The police do not know what to do with them, social services refuse them, and offers of housing are rejected because they have no legal right to them.
In general, people staying in shelters or safe houses must have immigrant or citizen status, which gives them a legal right to the money the government spends on them.
However, during the first lockdown, the government made an exception and provided dormitories for those who did not have access to public funds. However, Ms Sharma said they were poorly designed and did not communicate well enough.
She says no one told the board staff that people who don’t have access to public services can now be accommodated in these homes.
According to Ms Sharma, this alleged lack of communication has resulted in some women who were to be housed in the shelters having to sleep outside.
Activists say migrants who are victims of domestic violence are ostracized from everything (Photo: comfort women’s aid) (File photo)
Activists want the new domestic violence law to include women who don’t have access to public resources (Photo: Women’s Aid Troost) (Archive image)
She says she worked with a woman who had slept outside for two days during her first isolation because she was denied the emergency shelter she needed.
Elizabeth Jimenez-Yañez, campaign coordinator for Latin American Women’s Rights Services (LAWRS), said she had helped a migrant woman who had been denied housing five times before returning to her abuser’s home.
She said: During the initial isolation, we had several cases where women ended up going back to their abusers, despite the support of the organization and all the advocacy we did, because they said : With my criminal, at least I have a roof over my head.
The government’s environment spokesman said anyone who is a victim of domestic violence should be treated as a victim first and foremost, regardless of their immigration status.
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The concerns about shelters come at a time when the House of Lords has spent weeks debating changes to the landmark new Domestic Violence Bill.
Many organizations, including Safety4Sisters, LAWRS, Southall Black Sisters and Solace Women’s Aid, are pushing for domestic violence legislation to give immigrant women safe mechanisms to report abuse without fear of being reported by immigration authorities.
Ms. Sharma said: Disclosure is harmful and has a negative impact not only on migrant victims/survivors, but also on other women.
Because what happens is that these boys are not reported because migrant women are afraid of being deported or separated from their children. As a result, no one is investigated and the perpetrators get away with abusing women with impunity.
Activists also believe it should include a non-discrimination clause to prohibit authorities from giving preferential treatment to victims based on their refugee or migrant status.
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Victims of abuse who do not have access to public funds often sleep poorly or return to their abusers (Photo: Solace Women’s Aid) (Archive image)
And in addition to the domestic violence bill, they want to change the law to allow more immigrant survivors to apply for permanent resident status.
These reforms were introduced in Parliament during the final stage of legalization of the bill.
But the House of Lords is on the 8th. March to enter the next phase, arguing that changes for female immigrants are unnecessary, according to Ms. Jimenez-Yañez, who helped put the proposed changes on the table.
The Government has stated that it has spent £1.5 million under the Migrant Victims Support Scheme providing specialist support to create a robust evidence base for the required assistance.
But activists believe their organizations have been providing this evidence for years and say all that is needed is more help from the government.
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Ms. Jiménez-Yáñez stated that the Government’s project was really focused on emergency shelters and did not take into account the many needs of migrant women who are victims of violence.
Shelters that also offer support, such as specialized counseling and immigration advice, would help prevent offenders from taking advantage of their victims’ uncertain immigration status to further abuse them, activists say.
Ms. Sharma said: Criminals will always say: They have no access to public funds, they sometimes revoke passports, they sometimes delay visa extensions, they delay women applying to stabilize their immigration status.
You always keep women away because it offends you.
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added Ms Jiménez-Yáñez: We are trying to ensure that all women, regardless of their immigration status, are protected by this bill, which is seen as innovative legislation and a unique opportunity to combat domestic violence. Yet they are abandoning one of the most vulnerable groups of women.
A government spokesman for environment said: Anyone experiencing domestic violence should be treated first and foremost as a victim, regardless of their migration status.
The support programme for migrant victims is the result of the Government’s domestic violence efforts and its landmark Domestic Violence Bill, which is currently being passed by the House of Lords. This will provide £1.5 million for specialist care for affected migrants to ensure there is a solid foundation for the help they need.
The Concession Against Disadvantaged Domestic Violence provides additional support to migrant victims with certain spousal visas and abolishes the condition of not having access to public funds, allowing them temporary access to social security benefits.
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