Press release: #ProtectionForAll Parliament event

#ProtectionForAll: Women’s organisations meet at the Houses of Parliament to speak up for migrant women’s rights

The long-awaited government’s Domestic Abuse Bill published earlier this year still leaves migrant women survivors unprotected and excluded from any safety or security when fleeing abuse. The Bill must ensure there is #ProtectionForAll Survivors.

Southall Black Sisters (SBS) and the Latin American Women’s Rights Service (LAWRS) are jointly hosting a public meeting #ProtectionForAll: Domestic Abuse Bill and Migrant Women on the 18th of March at 2-4pm (Committee Room 11) in the Houses of Parliment to discuss the Domestic Abuse Bill and put forward amendments which uphold migrant women’s human rights to safety and justice.

Speakers include: migrant survivors, MPs including Jess Phillips, Dr Philippa Whitford, Carolyn Harris; researchers Dr Cathy McIlwaine (King’s College London), Dr Ravi Thiara (University of Warwick), Pragna Patel (SBS) and Illary Valenzuela-Oblitas (LAWRS).

The meeting is free and open to all. Register here

Illary Valenzuela-Oblitas, VAWG Policy coordinator at Latin American Women’s Rights Service:

“Whilst the Government has recognised the dangerous impact of there being barriers to reporting for women with insecure immigration status, it has failed to provide any protective measures to safeguard migrant women’s lives. In their response to the Domestic Abuse Bill consultation, the Government chose to state that migrant women who undergo abuse “may be best served returning to the country of origin” A Bill that proposes deportation and destitution of highly vulnerable women as a solution to violence is not a Bill that upholds human rights. We need a Bill that gives equal value to the lives of all victims, a bill that prioritises safety and recovery above immigration control. We need a Bill that put victims’ safety first without discrimination.”

Pragna Patel, director at Southall Black Sisters:

“The Domestic Abuse Bill fails to offer any meaningful protection to abused migrant women with insecure status. ‘Hostile’ laws and policies on immigration continue to trap migrant women in cycles of abuse, exploitation and destitution. They should be able to access protection and justice but cannot due the operation of the ‘no recourse to public funds’ rule and other restrictions. Freedom from violence and torture is a basic human right; it cannot be dependent on status. We call on the government to do the right thing and match its rhetoric on violence against women with the reality. No more must migrant women be afforded lesser protection and rights than other women in society”

LAWRS and SBS call for key amendments to the Bill:

A comprehensive strategy to support and protect migrant women suffering abuse – regardless of migration/refugee status – to be laid before Parliament within a specified timeframe;

Safe reporting must apply to all statutory services including the police and GPs to put victims’ safety before immigration enforcement;

An extension of the Domestic Violence Rule to all migrant women on non- spousal visas;

An extension of the timeframe for which the DDVC is available;

Sustainable and adequate funding of specialist Black and Minority Ethnic organisations and refuges as a statutory obligation;

Recognition of gender inequality underlying domestic abuse and the disproportionate impact on women and girls.

For more details contact:

Pragna Patel (SBS) 07985 399 740

Illary Valenzuela (LAWRS): 07922 058 126

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