Over 100 Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights and Children's rights left trapped in a cycle of violence by law

Subjected to violence but unable to escape – this is the reality facing over one hundred Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights and Children's rights in Northern Ireland, 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 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 in the UK - including 72 Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights and 46 Children's rights in Northern Ireland - 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 campaigner Patricia Campbell said:

“This is an awful situation. Clearly this a problem in Northern Ireland where Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights’s Aid had to provide refuge for over 100 Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights and Children's rights in 2006 alone. The Northern Ireland Executive 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.”

“We are calling on the Northern Ireland Executive to provide safe accommodation and other support to Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights with uncertain immigration status fleeing violence.”

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 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.

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 including that of Ana, a Polish woman in Northern Ireland:
"Ana is Polish. When Ana moved to Northern Ireland with her child, she wasin employment and regularly registered. When her relationship with her partner became abusive and violent, she lost her job and consequently all her benefits entitlements. She came to the refuge while pregnant with her second child and stayed almost two years with a month long interruption in her stay. Applications to the Northern Ireland Housing Executive were made and requests submitted for housing benefit, they were all refused. Because Ana lost her job before a year of full employment had passed. Social services however agreed to make payments to Ana of £20 per week per child, but would not provide money for accommodation. Instead these costs had to be underwritten by the refuge." - provided by Northern Ireland Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights’s Aid refuge, 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 Patricia Campbell continued: “An integrated strategy to tackle all forms of violence against Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights in Northern Ireland must be a priority for the Executive. 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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