Domestic Abuse Bill Would Create a ‘Two-Tier System and Fail Migrant Women
The government’s proposed Domestic Abuse Bill would fail migrant women by creating a ‘two-tier system’ with protections dependent on immigration status, campaigners heard this week.
Speaking at the Human Rights Lawyers Association on Monday, Radhika Handa, policy adviser at Southall Black Sisters (SBS), highlighted the paradox that migrant women are at the most at risk of domestic violence, but the least likely to report it. The Bill’s failure to address this, Handa argued, was epitomised by its ‘woefully inadequate’ allocation of only two out of almost 200 pages to migrant women. According to SBS, the Bill’s suggested grant of £500,000 to support organisations was only enough to assist 154 women for 12 weeks.
Louise Hooper, a barrister at Garden Court Chambers who has joined a delegation of the Council of Europe’s group of experts on domestic violence, argued that partners used residency status as a weapon, well aware migrant women were unable to access state support (‘no recourse to public funds’), meaning there is nowhere else for them to go. As a result, ‘migrant women don’t leave abusive relationships and such abuse gets worse over time,’ she said.
Debaleena Dasgupta, human rights lawyer at Liberty, emphasised migrant women typically did not turn to the police for fear of being reported to the Home Office. A Freedom of Information (FOI) request, made by Liberty on 26 July 2018, revealed such fears are justified. All 43 police forces in England and Wales confirmed they had no formal policy of data sharing with the Home Office. Despite this, another FOI request revealed, 27 police forces referred victims and witnesses of crime to the Home Office for immigration enforcement.
Read more: Klara Slater ‘The Justice Gap’, https://is.gd/zGNNAN
Right to Rent Scheme Home Office Granted Permission to Appeal all Aspects of the Judgement
Home Office has been granted permission to appeal all aspects of the judgment. In the meantime, the provisions passed by this House in 2014 remain in force. There are no immediate changes to the operation of the policy. Landlords and letting agents are still obliged to conduct Right to Rent checks as required in legislation.
[What is the correct approach to the assessment of medical evidence in asylum claims alleging torture.]
- KV (Sri Lanka) (Appellant) v Secretary of State for the Home Department (Respondent) – UKSC 2017/0124
On appeal from the Court of Appeal Civil Division (England and Wales)
Please note the reporting restrictions on this case: Court orders that no one shall publish or reveal the name or address of the Appellant who is the subject of these proceedings or publish or reveal any information which would be likely to lead to the identification of the Appellant or of any member of his family in connection with these proceedings.
The Appellant is a Sri Lankan national who claims that due to his association with the Tamil Tigers – the opposition during the civil war in Sri Lanka – he was detained by the Sri Lankan authorities between 2009 and 2011. He has scarring that he claims resulted from being beaten using hot metal rods whilst in detention. He came to the UK in 2011 and claimed asylum. The Respondent did not believe his account and rejected his claim for asylum.
The issue is:
What is the correct approach to the assessment of medical evidence in asylum claims alleging torture. The Supreme Court unanimously allows the appeal and remits KV’s appeal against the refusal of asylum to the Upper Tribunal for fresh determination.
More information at: https://www.supremecourt.uk/cases/uksc-2017-0124.html
Asylum Research Consultancy (ARC) COI Update Vol. 189
This document provides an update of UK Country Guidance case law, UK Home Office publications and developments in refugee producing countries (focusing on those which generate the most asylum seekers in the UK) between 19 February and 4 March 2019.
Download the full document: https://is.gd/ERzBG6
Judge Decides, Sajid Javid Can Deport Mother of FGM Risk Girl
The Home Secretary cannot be barred from deporting a failed asylum seeker whose daughter would be at risk of female genital mutilation (FGM) if taken abroad, a senior judge decided. The High Court heard the woman, who has links to Bahrain and Sudan, has been refused asylum by the Home Office.
She fears if she leaves for Bahrain she will be trafficked to Sudan and her daughter will be put at risk.
The case, brought by Suffolk County Council, is the first of its kind. Social services bosses with responsibility for the nine-year-old girl's welfare had begun High Court litigation and Sir Andrew McFarlane was asked whether a judge could bar Home Secretary Sajid Javid from deporting the girl's mother.
Sir Andrew, president of the Family Division of the High Court and the most senior family court judge in England and Wales, has concluded that a judge cannot make such an order. He is expected to publish a ruling outlining his reasoning in the near future.
Another judge, Mr Justice Newton, is now scheduled to analyse further issues in the case at future hearings.
Lawyers say Mr Justice Newton, who is based in the Family Division of the High Court in London, will assess issues including the level of risk the girl faces and whether she could be protected abroad. Mr Justice Newton has, at an earlier hearing, described the case as the first of its kind. He says it raises public interest issues relating to "tensions" between politicians and the courts. Judges have ruled that the girl cannot be identified in media reports of the case.
BBC News, https://is.gd/y6UH0L
Defending Our Children & Our World
International Women’s strike – Friday 8th March 2019
12 noon to 2:00 pm
What Is The International Women’s Strike?
Royal Courts of Justice, the Strand, London WC2A 2LL
The first Global Women’s Strike (coordinated by the Wages for Housework Campaign - WFH) was called for 8 March 2000, inspired by the 1975 Iceland women’s Day Off and a strike call by women in Ireland ? In 2016 women in Poland stopped work against anti-abortion laws ? In 2017 they joined with the movement against femicide in Argentina, and coordinated an international strike with women in 50+ countries ? In 2018, 6m women in Spain went on strike ? The strikes highlighted unwaged caring work, unequal pay, rape and domestic violence, exploitation, climate change … 12-2pm: Why The High Court?
Many injustices are fought out here – destitution, detention, deportation, benefit cuts, zero-hours contracts, sexism, racism, Islamophobia and other discrimination, pollution, the state taking children from mothers …
Since the 1970s, WFH has defended mums threatened with losing their kids because they were poor, fleeing domestic violence, lesbian, sex workers.
Children from poor areas are 10 times more likely to be taken; thousands are forcibly adopted each year. Mothers who are single, of colour, immigrant, disabled, victims of domestic violence are targeted.
Benefit cuts and sanctions, and starvation wages hit women and children hardest – 5m children live in poverty; single mother families are 85% of those affected by the benefit cap. Our efforts for survival are often criminalised.
Calling poverty ‘neglect’ is one excuse to split up families – love, caring work, even breastfeeding, are dismissed. Families are denied their legal right to resources but millions are spent on placing children with strangers.
For two years Support not Separation (SnS) has picketed the family court. They will join us to demand a living wage for mothers and other carers.
We stand against the hostile environment, the destruction of life, the threat to our planet caused by corporate greed, wars, arms sales … Join our walking / rolling picket, speak-out, breastfeeding sit-in … Bring your campaigning demands in defence of our kids, our relationships, our communities, our planet… We are all under attack… All women, children and non-binary people welcome. 2.30-5.30pm: WHY SOAS?
Supportive men from Payday and Decolonising Our Minds are hosting the Strike with Food, Stalls And Films. All Welcome. firstname.lastname@example.org
Global Women’s Strike email@example.com 020 7482 2496