Making the links: BME (Black, Minority Ethnic) Women, Gender-Based Violence, Homelessness & Migration – a UK perspective
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Making the links: BME (Black, Minority Ethnic) Women, Gender-Based Violence, Homelessness & Migration – a UK perspective

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Presentation given by Marai Larasi, Sumanta Roy, UK at a FEANTSA Research Conference on "Migration, Homelessness and Demographic Change in Europe", Pisa, Italy, 2011

Presentation given by Marai Larasi, Sumanta Roy, UK at a FEANTSA Research Conference on "Migration, Homelessness and Demographic Change in Europe", Pisa, Italy, 2011

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  • References:http://www.womensaid.org.uk/domestic_violence_topic.asp?section=0001000100220041&sectionTitle=Domestic+violence+(general)Thiara, Ravi K & Roy, Sumanta Imkaan (March 2010) Vital Statistics: The Experiences of BAMER Women and Children Facing Violence and Abuse

Making the links: BME (Black, Minority Ethnic) Women, Gender-Based Violence, Homelessness & Migration – a UK perspective Presentation Transcript

  • 1. A PLACE OF SAFETY? MAKING THE LINKS: BME (BLACK,MINORITY ETHNIC) WOMEN, GENDER-BASED VIOLENCE, HOMELESSNESS & M I G R AT I O N – A U K P E R S P E C T I V E M A R A I L A R A S I M B E A N D S U M A N TA R O Y IMKAAN 2011
  • 2. IMKAAN AT A GLANCE  National 2nd tier charity formed in 1998  Provide support for Black, Asian, Minority Ethnic (BME) Women’s Services working around Violence Against Women issues  Work includes – strategic advocacy, research, training & capacity building© Marai Larasi and Sumanta Roy
  • 3. DOMESTIC VIOLENCE AT A GLANCE 1 in 4 women will experience domestic violence at some point in her life Women are much more likely to be victims of repeated incidents of domestic violence Women are more likely than men to have experienced all types of intimate violence (partner abuse, family abuse, sexual assault and stalking) since the ages of 16 BME women face higher levels of post-separation abuse Over 50% of BME women interviewed in one survey reported abuse from multiple perpetrators including in-laws© Marai Larasi and Sumanta Roy
  • 4. ASYLUM & IMMIGRATION AT A GLANCE  Approx. 500-600 women experiencing violence with immigration and asylum issues  Out of 429 women who wanted help to leave only 9% were housed  A quarter of women accessing refuge provision had insecure immigration status. For 92% of women threats of deportation were a common part of abuse.  70% of women seeking asylum reported having experienced physical and/or sexual violence.  Limited research on numbers of asylum-seeking women who have experienced intimate partner violence or other forms in host countries e.g. forced marriage, female genital mutilation© Marai Larasi and Sumanta Roy
  • 5. WHY CONSIDER BME WOMEN? All groups of women who are subject to violence share similar experiences However, BME women are dealing not just with their experiences of the violence from their perpetrators but are also dealing with issues of racism and marginalisation within wider society There has been a tendency to ‘other’ VAWG in BMER communities which serves to silence and marginalise rather than address the root causes.@ Marai Larasi and Sumanta Roy
  • 6. WHY CONSIDER BMER WOMEN? A BME woman escaping violence with linked asylum/immigration needs will experience multiple layers of disadvantage and discrimination.1. As a BME woman2. As a woman3. As a woman experiencing violence4. Potential other areas e.g. disability, sexuality5. Because of her immigration position – pathologised as a migrant over and above need for support© Marai Larasi
  • 7. IMMIGRATION POLICY Immigration rules (paragraph 289): women who have experienced domestic violence who were admitted as spouses, civil partners or partners can apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) Violence perpetrated by other members of the family also included if sponsor did not support or protect the woman. On the basis of evidence that the relationship broke down because of domestic violence before the end of the probationary period and that the woman was in a continuing relationship.© Marai Larasi
  • 8. IMMIGRATION POLICY Whilst an application for ILR is being assessed she is classed as having ‘no recourse to public funds’ Evidence of relationship breakdown: includes police report, legal injunction, report from an NGO, medical professional, social services, evidence from child contact proceedings.© Marai Larasi and Sumanta Roy
  • 9. FROM POLICY INTO PRACTICEPROMISE ISSUES  Offers protection to small Immigration rules proportion of women respond to the needs of experiencing violence women experiencing  Only applies to women on domestic violence spousal visas i.e. trafficked women, migrant workers, student or visitor visas excluded  Women from other EEA countries excluded© Marai Larasi and Sumanta Roy
  • 10. SUPPORT FROM LOCAL AUTHORITIES National Assistance Act 1948 – if you prove that you are destitute AND that you are in need of care and attention you can apply for accommodation and support e.g. from a domestic violence refuge In need of care and attention means i.e. physical health, disability or mental health needs - R (M) v Slough (2008) in the case of a woman who was HIV positive. Children Act 1989 – obligation to provide services to children who are defined as ‘in need’ e.g. children cared for by women with insecure immigration status.© Marai Larasi
  • 11. FROM POLICY INTO PRACTICEPROMISE ISSUES  Multiple layers of disadvantage Access to support and discrimination (community care services  Homelessness staff in housing authorities and Social Services including rarely trained (therefore accommodation) from understanding is variable)  Inconsistent interpretations of/or Local Authorities to lack of policies protect women and  Leads to women being moved from borough to borough, children. children taken into care, difficult to meet criteria for destitution© Marai Larasi
  • 12. WHAT WORKS After considerable lobbying from women’s groups the Government recently implemented the Sojourner project (access to 40 working days funding for refuge accommodation whilst immigration position is being resolved by UK Borders Agency) (UKBA). Pre-2010 no funding was available to support women when they leave – when they are at most risk from further violence, exploitation, potential homicide, destitution and returning to the perpetrator Extended to April 2012 and now looking at a more permanent solution (changes in welfare benefit rules)© Marai Larasi
  • 13. FROM POLICY INTO PRACTICEPROMISE ISSUES  Doesn’t apply to women on Women experiencing non-spousal visas violence can access refuge accommodation  Contradictions between and applications for policies of different settlement are fast- government departments e.g. tracked legal aid cuts; specialist women’s groups© Marai Larasi
  • 14. WOMEN & ASYLUM The UK is one of the few countries across the EU to have developed gender-guidelines (Home Office, 2004, revised 2006) Women go through separate system managed by UKBA, a department of the Home Office. Process involves screening interview, assessment of asylum claim with a case-owner Potential dispersal and detention in an Immigration removal centre (IRC) Policy change in 2011 – children no longer detained© Marai Larasi
  • 15. DOES NOT WORK WHEN: Gender guidelines are not routinely implemented or monitored No guarantee that case-owner or interpreter will be female Case-owners have a lack of understanding on how and when women will disclose when they have experienced sexual, domestic and other forms of violence Interviews conducted with children present Quality of decision–making poor and based on arbitrary reasons Conditions of detention are not gender-sensitive and make women feel unsafe Lack of appropriate advocacy Cuts to legal aid and specialist charities Immigration Tribunal judges have no training on gender-based violence© Marai Larasi
  • 16. OVERVIEW There have been a number of positive developments in the UK However, until there is a genuine application of an equalities- based framework and gender-based proofing responses The system will continue to be adversarial, poor and varied responses that do not serve the direct needs and interests of BME women.© Marai Larasi and Sumanta Roy
  • 17. IMKAAN Marai Larasi: director@imkaan.org.uk Sumanta Roy: research@imkaan.org.uk www.imkaan.org.uk© Marai Larasi
  • 18. THE END!!!© Marai Larasi and Sumanta Roy