Women’s Aid responds to the Lords’ rejections of the domestic abuse bill amendment
Lucy Hadley, Head of Policy and Campaigns at Women’s Aid said:
“We are deeply disappointed that MPs did not vote for the safety of all women and rejected the Lords’ amendments, led by Southall Black Sisters, the Step Up Migrant Women Campaign and the End Violence Against Women Coalition, which would have given migrant women equal protection. In doing so, the government has consigned migrant women to an intolerable position.
Just 4% of refuge vacancies in England in 2019-20 could accept a woman with no recourse to public funds due to her immigration status, and this means that migrant women and their children are turned away daily from the support that they need.
The government’s ‘solution’ has been to create a pilot project in order to address an ‘evidence gap’ around the need for support for migrant women. Southall Black Sisters, which have been awarded the contract for the pilot project, has made clear that it is not ‘a viable or adequate’ solution. It also provides no long-term guarantee that all migrant women can access support when escaping abuse.
All survivors must have the right to seek help and live a life free from abuse – regardless of their immigration status.
We are also severely concerned that the other Lords’ amendments – including a requirement for all family court judges to have training on domestic abuse and sexual violence – were voted down by MPs. Whilst this law has been deemed a once-in-a-generation opportunity to protect all survivors, there remains much more to do to ensure the government delivers the societal changes that all survivors need to live free from fear, and free from abuse.”