How we fail to help abused women

I blogged previously about the Amnesty / Southall Black Sisters report into the plight of refugee women and illegal immigrants who are victims of domestic violence but who are trapped in abusive situations because benefits rules prevent them running away – a classic and tragic case of bureaucratic rules gone wrong.

Well – this week Southall Black Sisters held a protest at Parliament:

Hundreds of women protested outside Parliament today to bring attention to the immigration law that provides “no safety net to vulnerable women”.

Southall Black Sisters, human rights groups and other organisations from around the country began the day with a silent protest outside Portcullis House wearing masks and black clothes to expose the injustice of women who are turned away from their local authority because of the no recourse to funds requirement.

The demonstration follows a series of reports on the rule that prevents women who have travelled to the UK legally, with a work, spousal or student visa, from accessing state benefits or social housing if they experience violence or abuse by their partners…

Hornsey and Wood Green MP, Lynne Featherstone, of the Liberal Democrats, said: “With no real or secure support from the Government, these women face a bleak choice between destitution or continued dependence on their abuser. The devil and the deep blue sea doesn’t quite describe what a grim choice this is.”