Women's rights's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights: Success for victims of violence with no recourse to public funds

Amnesty International welcomes the announcement made by the Home Secretary and Minister for Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights and Equality, Theresa May MP, to further extend the pilot scheme of offering assistance to Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights with insecure immigration status who are victims of violence in the UK.

The scheme, which provides up to 40 days’ funding and access a refuge and specialised support to victims of violence who have no recourse to public funds, has served as a lifeline to the most vulnerable Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights in the UK and was expected to end in March 2010.  

The coalition Conservative-Liberal Democrat government initially agreed to extend the trial until September but at a Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights’s Aid Conference on Friday 16 July, the Home Secretary went further and said that the Government will “commit to funding the scheme until the end of this financial year [March 2011] and to finding a long-term solution to ensure Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights are protected after that.”

Such a decision has been heralded as another major campaigning success by organisations in the Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights and human rights sector, including Amnesty International and Southall Black Sisters. The challenge now is to ensure that the Government stands behind its commitment.

Amnesty International UK Director, Kate Allen said:

“We are very pleased that the coalition government has agreed to continue this vital, life-saving scheme.

“The provision of adequate assistance and protection for one of the UK’s most vulnerable groups of Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights should have always been a pre-requisite for any UK Government. It’s something which Amnesty and other Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights’s rights organisations has been vigorously campaigning for, so we’re delighted at this recent announcement.

“We now urge the government to stand behind its commitment and to ensure that its long-term solution is one which provides the highest level of protection not only for the limited group covered by the existing pilot but for all Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights who have no recourse to public funds.”

Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights in the UK who are on spousal visas, international student visas and temporary work permits have no recourse to public funds and so prior to the scheme were not able to access specialist services or secure a place in a refuge if they needed it. This left hundreds of Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights destitute or trapped in a cycle of violence.  The pilot scheme so far only applies to spouses but has already provided vital access to safety and security that they wouldn't otherwise have had.

Theresa May went on to express that this scheme was “too important not to do.”

Kate Allen continued:

“For too long Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights's groups have had to campaign and lobby for what is in fact already a human rights obligation and all the while Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights's lives were at risk. This has been a long-time coming.”

Notes to the Editor
1. In 2008, Amnesty International and Southall Black Sisters published ‘No Recourse, no safety’ – a comprehensive report which assessed the impact upon Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights living in the UK who were not able to access public funds and so were denied access to refuges or specialist support.

2. In November 2009, the Labour Government announced a three-month pilot scheme to provide assistance to victims of domestic violence who were on spousal visas.

3. Amnesty International is calling for all Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights who have no recourse to be able to access the resources if they need them. This includes Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights on international student visas, temporary work permits and ‘overstayers’ as well as Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights on spousal visas.

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