The problem with the Domestic Abuse Bill. Migrant women excluded from protection

Today, 5th of January, the Domestic Abuse Bill is back to Parliament after multiple delays and in the context of an increase in domestic abuse cases as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Members of the House of Lords will have a critical opportunity to ensure the Domestic Abuse Bill becomes a truly gold-standard piece of legislation which complies with the Istanbul Convention by not leaving any woman behind.

Currently, migrant women are excluded from safety as the Bill fails to deliver protection provisions for survivors with insecure immigration status and those subjected to the No Recourse to Public Funds policy.

Alongside Southall Black Sisters, the End Violence Against Women coalition and other members of the Step Up Migrant Women campaign, we have been campaigning to ensure the Bill protects all women, irrespective of the immigration status. To that end we are proposing three amendments: 

Establishing safe-reporting mechanisms to stop all victims of crime’s data being shared for immigration enforcement purposes – so that domestic abuse survivors are not deterred from reporting crimes or end up detained or deported when they do.

Extending the Domestic Violence Rule and Destitution Domestic Violence Concession so that all migrant survivors can apply for indefinite leave to remain in the UK and receive financial support, which must be provided for an adequate length of time to meet their needs. 

Including a ‘non-discrimination’ clause to the Bill to mirror the language in Article 4(3) of the Istanbul Convention, preventing discrimination against survivors based on their migrant or refugee status. 

“The problem with the Domestic Abuse Bill” video is a collaborative work done by Chitra Nagarajan, Lola Okolosie, Maya Goodfellow, Sandhya Sharma from Safety4Sisters North West, Shaista Aziz from Solace and Elizabeth Jiménez-Yáñez from the Latin American Women’s Rights Service.

Illustration and animation design by Malikah Holder: https://haytch.myportfolio.com, https://www.instagram.com/emkayhaytch/

Contact:

Elizabeth Jiménez-Yáñez, Policy and Communications Coordinator on VAWG

elizabeth@lawrs.org.uk

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