Support for victims of domestic violence extended
Help for migrants forced to flee their relationships as a result of domestic violence has been made permanently available from 1st April 2012.
Eligible spouses and partners will be granted a limited period of exceptional leave by the UK Border Agency. This will give access to public funds and support services, allowing victims to leave an abusive relationship and apply for residence in the UK.
Immigration Minister Damian Green said:
‘Domestic violence is a terrible crime affecting people of all ages and backgrounds and this government is determined to tackle it.
‘No one should be forced to stay in an abusive relationship and this scheme helps victims in genuine need escape violence and harm and seek the support they deserve.’
The scheme will assist foreign national spouses and partners who are victims of domestic violence. It will provide victims who would otherwise be destitute or have no access to public funds with an avenue to escape abuse and access vital support services.
The government has estimated the scheme will help 500 people to escape from abusive relationships across the UK.
The announcement follows a successful pilot, which has helped 1,522 individuals, including 738 women with children, escape from violent and dangerous situations since November 2009. In many cases the victims were afraid to seek help as they had no access to financial support and feared removal from the UK if their relationship broke up.