Hundreds of Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights left trapped in a spiral of violence by UK legislation

UK Government ‘is betraying Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights in the UK’

Subjected to violence but unable to escape – this is the reality facing hundreds of Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights in the UK, according to a new report by Amnesty International UK and Southall Black Sisters published today.

The report, entitled No recourse, no safety – the UK Government's failure to protect Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights from violence, reveals how hundreds of Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights are trapped in a cycle of abuse, unable to access basic levels of protection and support, simply because of their vulnerable immigration status.

Amnesty International UK Director, Kate Allen said:
“The Government is betraying hundreds of Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights in the UK. It has a duty to ensure that all Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights under its jurisdiction have the same access to crisis or temporary accommodation and appropriate specialist services – regardless of their status.”

Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights with insecure status who experience violence, including domestic violence or trafficking, cannot access the benefits they need to access crucial safety and support in a refuge.

Refuges often need housing benefit to cover accommodation costs and income support to cover basic subsistence while Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights recover. The no recourse to public funds requirement forbids these Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights from getting either, leaving them with a stark choice of staying in the abuse or becoming destitute.

Southall Black Sisters co-founder, Pragna Patel said:
“This is a horrific situation. It’s unacceptable that the government’s policies and measures to protect all Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights from violence do not reach this category of Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights.

“The government is more concerned about maintaining its tough stance on immigration than it is about ensuring that it meets international human rights standards which include acting with due diligence to protect all Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights from violence and abuse.”

Those potentially affected by this rule include international students, temporary workers, visitors, trafficked Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights and girls, and Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights who have entered the UK on valid visas as either a spouse or a long-term partner.

‘No recourse, no safety’ details several cases:
“One woman… has been kept as a slave in the house and the whole family have been physically, mentally and sexually violent towards her. The family have threatened to kill her several times but on one occasion they actually doused her with petrol and threatened to set her alight, she actually thought they were going to do this and managed to get out of the house and ran to the end of the road into a GPs surgery.

“The staff there were really good and phoned the police straight away. The family followed her into the surgery and tried to downplay what had happened. The police ended up mediating between her and the family, the family tried to hide the level of abuse… and promised the police they would try and sort it out. She was sent back with the family with no support offered.

“The abuse continued, until one day the family took her to a solicitors office… to sign some papers, and the solicitor was concerned that the woman didn’t understand the papers. The solicitor told the family to wait outside and then she talked to her in her own language. The family were planning the divorce and then to send her back to India, she had no idea. The solicitor got the family to leave and brought her to us.

“She has no recourse to public funds, and we had no refuge space available. Our case workers managed to trace some people in the Midlands who knew her family back in India. She stayed there for two weeks, but they couldn’t look after her after that and they said she had to leave... She is now living in a house that is owned by someone who runs a community project…. It’s sparse and she has no money for day to day living, but at least she has a place.”
An outreach worker speaking about a woman in the care of the refuge where she works, October 2007

Baroness Helena Kennedy QC is also supporting this campaign. She said
“The UK Government may think it’s upholding British justice. In actual fact, it is undermining it. There’ve been several cases where the police have been unable to pursue prosecutions against abusers, as they’ve been unable to find a safe refuge for Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights so that they can act as witnesses.

“The Government absolutely must make an exception to this rule. The US, Canada and Denmark have all made provisions to ensure that Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights in this category receive adequate protection. The UK Government also can.”

As well as ensuring these Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights are able to access accommodation and support, Amnesty International and Southall Black Sisters are urging the government to set up an interim emergency fund available for immediate use to help Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights who are at present risk whilst permanent solutions are established.

Amnesty International’s Kate Allen continued: “An integrated strategy to tackle all forms of violence against Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights across the board must be set up by the Government. That would ensure that Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights at risk don’t fall through these dangerous, and ultimately life-threatening loopholes.”

  • No recourse-no safety-the UK Government's failure to protect Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights from violence

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