London: Britain has changed immigration rules
to ensure that migrant-spouses from India and other non-EU
countries who become victims of domestic violence here are
given access to public funds to help them escape abuse.
Every year, many spouses holding Indian citizenship
arrive in the UK to join their married partners, who are
mostly British citizens of Indian-origin. Some of them face
domestic violence soon after, and face considerable hardship
to escape the situation and maintain themselves.
Campaign group Southall Black Sisters and 26 other
women`s and human rights groups have hailed the change in
rules as a victory. Until now, such foreign nationals did not
have recourse to public funds.
The Home Office announced that the new scheme targeted at
such victims will assist foreign national spouses and partners
who are victims of domestic violence.
It provides victims, who would otherwise be destitute or
have no access to public funds, with an avenue to escape abuse
and access vital support services.
The scheme, announced by Immigration minister Damian
Green, follows a successful pilot scheme, the Sojourner
Project, which helped 1,522 individuals.
The government estimates that each year this scheme will
help 500 people to escape from abusive relationships across
Immigration Minister Damian Green said: "Domestic
violence is a terrible crime affecting people of all ages and
backgrounds and this government is determined to tackle it.
No one should be forced to stay in an abusive relationship and
this scheme helps victims in genuine need escape violence and
harm and seek the support they deserve."