The United Nations General Assembly has designated November 25 as the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women. The Law Centre takes this opportunity to reaffirm our commitment to survivors of domestic violence.
Violence against women and girls is one of the most prevalent and pervasive human rights violations in the world.
Globally, almost one in three women have been subjected to physical and/or sexual violence or abuse at least once in their life. This can lead to significant and lasting impacts on women and girls’ physical, mental, and sexual health, as well as their life chances. Survivors’ struggles can be exacerbated by their financial situation and by their immigration status.
The Law Centre has extensive experience of working with victims and survivors of domestic abuse. We provide employment, social security and immigration advice as well as legal representation.
Our Social Security unit is currently assisting a number of clients who have left an abusive relationship and who now need social security benefits in order to achieve their financial freedom. For instance, the Law Centre continues to represent “CG”, a woman from an EU country who resides in Northern Ireland with EUSS Pre-settled status.
Meanwhile, our Immigration unit is assisting migrant women to obtain a ‘durable’ immigration status in their own right. Immigration law provides some remedies for survivors of domestic violence, namely through the Destitute Domestic Violence Concession (DDVC) and through the Indefinite Leave to Remain (DV) application. Unfortunately, these remedies are far from complete which means that many migrant women remain trapped in abusive relationships.
While it is only the Westminster Government that has powers to amend immigration law to provide more comprehensive protections for migrant victims of domestic abuse, the Law Centre considers that the NI Executive has a vital role to play in advocating at a UK level for such changes. Read what needs to change here.
Overall, we want to help survivors to understand and assert their legal rights by obtaining financial security and a durable immigration status. We trust this will help our survivors to stand taller and regain control over their lives.