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Domestic policy on violence against women and girls lagging behind efforts abroad

19 February 2015

19 February 2015. The Joint Committee on Human Rights (“JCHR”) today published its Sixth Report on violence against women and girls, to which The AIRE Centre gave evidence early last year.

The Committee found that that the Government’s domestic policy on this issue is lagging behind its efforts abroad. The failure of the UK to ratify the Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence (“the Istanbul Convention”) could seriously harm the UKs international reputation, warned the JCHR.

In its written evidence, The AIRE Centre called for the ratification of the Istanbul Convention. Without concrete mechanisms put in place to ensure adequate financial assistance and support for EU migrants who are victims of domestic violence, and without addressing the uncertain immigration status faced by many migrant victims of domestic violence, the UK authorities will fail to comply with their obligations towards victims under the European Convention on Human Rights (‘ECHR’).

Echoing these sentiments, the JCHR report raised concerns that many victims find themselves destitute or having to remain within a violent relationship, in the time it takes to regularise their immigration status.

In our work with victims of domestic violence The AIRE Centre has found that many victims, forced to flee their homes in urgent circumstances are unable to retrieve all the necessary documents. Though this difficult and potentially dangerous situation is widely acknowledged, lack of documentation remains a standard ground for refusing immigration status, and access to social assistance and social security benefits.

Director of The AIRE Centre, Matthew Evans, commented,

We would urge a more victim-centred approach to be adopted towards all victims of gender based violence, particularly in ensuring that such women are legally entitled to safe and secure accommodation, suitable to their circumstances and that they are provided with all necessary support and assistance in accordance with their Convention rights, including proper access to legal aid.

 

Read the full report

Read our written evidence to the Joint Committee on Human Rights

Read our one pager or find out more about our work with victims of domestic violence

Keep up to date with all our projects, follow us on Twitter @AIRECentre

 

Photo courtesy of Hibr

 

 

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