Friday, 7 March 2008

No Recourse - No Safety

By Heather Harvey, Amnesty International UK

Most people would like to think that a woman suffering violence, if she can find the courage to leave home, will do so and go to a refuge. However, this is not always the case, there are some women who may be quite legally here in the UK on valid but temporary or conditional visas who may live with violent husbands, in-laws or employers and not be able to escape to a refuge - even women who have been so badly abused as to have been doused with petrol and threatened to be set alight or forced to abort their baby or beaten till their bones are broken.

How can this be? It is a little known fact that a minor legal provision called the " no recourse to public funds rule" stops such women accessing a refuge. The refuge may have bed spaces available and be desperate to help but refuges work on the principle that those staying there either have private means to cover their costs or have income support and housing benefit to cover their cost. These benefits are "public funds" and so for instance a woman marrying a UK national and living here legally as his wife on a 2 year probationary visa as the marriage settles in, is dependent on her husband and has no recourse to "public funds". If the marriage turns violent the refuge can't take her as there are no funds to cover her and so she has to choose between staying with her abuser and risking her health and even her life, living on the streets destitute and vulnerable or going back to her home country - even though this may mean losing her children or indeed may be such a dishonour as to put her life at risk at home too.

Southall Black Sisters and Amnesty International UK are launching a new report " No recourse - No Safety" on the no recourse to public funds rule on Thursday 13th March. Please join us at the Human Rights action centre (17-25 New Inn Yard, EC2A 3EA nearest tubes Old Street and Liverpool Street) for a 7pm start. The event will be chaired by Samira Ahmed of Channel 4 News, speakers include Baroness Helena Kennedy QC, Hannana Siddiqui of SBS and a survivor. Then join us for a drinks reception afterwards from 8.30 onwards.

Please circulate and rsvp at

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At 4 April 2008 at 16:33 , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good. We have lost the no provision for funds in the U.S. and its a bonanza for foreign women. Here's the deal... Husband and wife marry and move to U.S. Wife picks up phone and says the three little words every man wants to here... "He hit me". It's a lie of course but she'll be rewarded handsomely for doing this. Money, the house, and free citizenship! Whoo-hoo! Who cares if the man loses his job and can never work again thanks to the false allegation? Doesn't he know that his only function is serve as a slave to women? Keep it up girls... you think violence is a problem now wait until a bulk of the male population is sick of your hysterical rants, blatantly sexist laws, and whiny victim status. Look at magazines targeting young men today, the advice they give, and how they portray young women - to be used and manipulated. Gone is any notion of chivalry or feelings of protection towards women - feminism inc. has destroyed those for several generations to come. Right now you rely on heavily armed jack boots to carry out your will. The jack boots are filled by - men - some of whom want some payback *now* and these will be filled with those boys you sentence to the single mom. Crime goes up. Gangs get more violent. No older bulls are there to show the younger how to behave. The seeds you've sown are starting to germinate. Who will guard the guards ladies? Who will protect you when the all powerful government you sic'd on the men are filled to the brim with men who feel no sense of protection towards you but see you as nauseating things to be used and thrown away?

I and the public know
What all schoolchildren learn,
Those to whom evil is done
Do evil in return. W.H. Auden

Happy future ladies.

At 17 April 2008 at 17:55 , Anonymous kenia said...

I really think that you make a lot of sense. I really feel that people really dont know what a women goes through unless they really go through it. I'm against women violence, and I really like to help these women and I admire them so much. Not only for what they go through, but because I know someone really close to me that went through this. I really loved it. I'm also writting about woman violence, and why dont you stop by and check it out, and even tell me what you think of it!

At 1 November 2008 at 15:51 , Anonymous Permanently Disturbed said...

It is unbelievable what anonymous said... I am a female who has been a victim of mental and sexual abuse. I was tortured and raped and had my life threatened. The vast majority of women in this situation are forced to leave their homes with their children and often with very little else. The punishments for these crimes are far from justified.
Whilst in a halfway house I spent time in the company of other women who were vitims of violence. One female had been locked in a room and forced to go to the toilet as she had no alternetive. When the men came back they threatened to cut her up from the inside out if she did not eat her own shit. Which she was forced to do. Another had married a man who had only done so to breed with her in order to sexually abuse the children when they were born. She ended up living in a single room for 6 years and her children were taken into care. I had been kicked down stairs, beaten with hangers, punched in the face and had a pillow held down over my face until I gave up struggling and thought this is how I am going to die.
I knew another girl who was kicked and beaten whilst pregnant. Anonymous sounds to me like he is bitter for some reason and in his own life has not literally lived in real fear. The magazine and porn industry caters to its viewers and it is ever more apparent that sexual degradation and violence against women is something that arouses men otherwise how would their be so many success stories about the fortunes that men in this industry have made off the back of women and prostitutes who are at the end of the day taking money from so many of the men in the world who have it to squander. I have lived and raised my son alone on less money each week than some men can squander in one night. Perhaps anon. should spend some time in a refuge!!


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