Domestic Abuse & Immigration
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Regardless of your immigration status, if you experience domestic abuse you have the right to protection by the police and courts from your abuser or abusers. It is important to report domestic abuse to the police as soon as possible. In some cases reporting the abuse to the police can support applications relating to your immigration status, in addition to giving you immediate protection from harm.
If you leave an abusive relationship or marriage and your legal right to remain in the UK depends on staying with your spouse or unmarried partner, you should seek legal advice as soon as possible.
If you are injured or emotionally distressed you should see a G.P. as soon as possible or in an emergency go to the local A&E or a Walk in Centre for medical assistance.
Seeking legal advice
If you had to leave your relationship or marriage due to domestic abuse, and you have limited leave or have a temporary visa to remain in the UK, and your being here depends on staying with your spouse or unmarried partner, you must seek legal advice on immigration immediately.
A list of immigration solicitors is available from the agencies mentioned below that can put you in touch with an immigration advisor or solicitor. If it is possible for you to make an application for indefinite leave to remain in the UK on the grounds of domestic violence, these agencies can also support your application by providing reports of domestic violence.
When you go to see an immigration advisor or solicitor or are seeking help from the appropriate departments within the council you will be required to provide as much information as possible regarding your immigration status including important documents such as your passport, immigration papers, as well as marriage certificate and birth certificates of your children.
An immigration advisor or solicitor will advise you on your immigration status, what rights you have to stay and what possible steps can be taken to remain in the UK.
These agencies can provide assistance and support to increase your safety.
Victim Support Tower Hamlets, Domestic Violence Team
Tel: 0207 364 7957
For advice and information only, contact:
London Borough of Tower Hamlets Domestic Violence team
Tel: 0800 279 5434 or 0207 364 4986
National Domestic helpline number
Tel: 0808 2000 247
Domestic Abuse and immigration law
You may be able to remain in the UK if:
You came into the Country as a spouse or an unmarried partner of a person who has the right to stay here permanently
Your temporary visa has not expired
Your relationship broke down as a result of domestic violence
You can show evidence of domestic violence against you.
The Home Office accepts the following evidence: an injunction, non molestation order or other protection order made against your partner or a relevant court conviction against your partner; or full details of a relevant police caution against your partner. In certain circumstances the Home Office also accepts medical reports from a hospital doctor confirming injuries consistent with domestic violence, a letter from a GP who has examined you and confirms your injuries are consistent with domestic violence, an undertaking given to the Court by your partner not to approach you, a police report confirming attendance at your home because of a domestic abuse incident, a letter from social services confirming its involvement with you because of domestic abuse, a letter from a women’s refuge.
The agencies listed on the contacts page will be able to put you in touch with an immigration advisor or solicitor, and will be able to advise you on your eligibility to apply for indefinite leave to remain in UK on the grounds of domestic abuse.
If you are living in the UK on a temporary visa you are not entitled to claim certain welfare benefits, housing benefit or get housing from the council.
However, you are entitled to take on employment and work until your visa has expired or, if you applied for indefinite leave to remain in the UK before the visa expired, you may continue to work until a decision has been made on your application.
If you have children under the age of 18 years you may be entitled to support and accommodation from Children Social Care.
You should seek advice from the agencies mentioned above.
An agency that can provide legal advice and assistance on both immigration and welfare benefits law is:
Tower Hamlets Law Centre
Tel: 020 7538 4909
You may also be entitled to financial support via the Family Law. Visit the contacts page to access details of organisations that can put you in touch with a solicitor.
If you are in immediate risk call 999 or 112 (from a mobile) for the Police