POLICY BREIF: Strategies to Support Migrant Victim-Survivors of Domestic Abuse

Project: Other

Project Details


Domestic abuse refers to incidents of emotional, psychological, economic, physical or sexual abuse, controlling, coercive, violent or threatening behaviour between partners, ex-partners, or family members (Domestic Abuse Act 2021 Part 1(1)). Victim-survivors can suffer serious physical injuries and psychological consequences, with survivors having high rates of mental health problems including depression and PTSD (Mechanic et al., 2008). There is also a financial cost, estimated at £66 billion in 2017 in England and Wales (Oliver et al., 2019). Therefore, the Domestic Abuse Act 2021 is important legislation, yet it is flawed by failing to address additional challenges victim-survivors with insecure immigration status face. This policy brief will give recommendations to improve support for migrant victim-survivors.

Key findings

• Domestic abuse is a damaging and widespread problem.
• The Domestic Abuse Act 2021 (Part 7, 81 and 82) makes provision for the writing of a statutory code of practice on the processing of domestic abuse data for immigration purposes.
• However, the Act lacks provisions for migrant women with insecure immigration status.
• Migrant women have no recourse to public funds, so face extra barriers when seeking a refuge place and may still be deterred from reporting domestic abuse due to fear of immigration enforcement and lack of awareness of translation services.
• The Destitute Domestic Violence Concession and Domestic Violence Rule should be extended to support all migrant victim-survivors, and refuge places for those currently without public funds should be funded.
• Funding should be increased for services ‘by and for’ BAME victim-survivors, including translation services.
StatusNot started