Supporting migrant victims of domestic abuse
Cases of domestic violence experienced by migrant women are increasingly complex due to mixed immigration statuses and barriers to accessing mainstream services.
Working to end all forms of gender-based violence remains one of the core priorities of the Immigrant Council of Ireland. We define gender-based violence as any form of abuse or exploitation that is directed at a person because of their gender. Gender based violence predominantly affects women and girls, intersecting with immigration status in areas such as human trafficking and domestic violence.
Each year our legal and information services support dozens of migrant women who find themselves in situations of domestic violence. Our support can range from simple advice and referrals to legal representation to help a victim secure an independent residency status separate from their abusive spouse.
In 2021, thanks to funding from the Lifes2good Foundation, the Immigrant Council was able to begin dedicated outreach activities supporting migrant women victims of domestic abuse in the West of Ireland.
One such client is an Indian woman living in the West of Ireland with her children and husband. The family moved to Ireland based on the husband’s work permit. Due to ongoing abuse by her husband, the woman was referred to us by a local support service for help.
The Immigrant Council legal team was able to provide assistance to the woman, helping her to draft an application for independent status to the Department of Justice.
Despite a slowdown in Government services as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, the Department reviewed the woman’s application and quickly approved it, granting the woman independent permission to reside and work in Ireland.
Today, she and her children have the opportunity to reclaim their lives without the threat of violence, with the ability to live independently and be secure in their immigration status without any dependence on the perpetrator of abuse.
Success stories like this help illustrate the ongoing need for dedicated support services for migrant victims of domestic abuse across the country. Through funding from the Lifes2good Foundation, the Immigrant Council is helping to deliver these essential services and also working to build the capacities of service providers in the region by providing training and guidance to legal professionals and frontline service providers.
The Immigrant Council of Ireland firmly believes that independent immigration status should be accessible by all people after a certain length of time – regardless of family relationship or incidents of domestic abuse. This is an ongoing issue we continue to raise with the State in reforming the Irish immigration system.
For more information on resources for migrants experiencing domestic abuse, view our Know your rights section, consult our Community Navigators or call the Immigrant Council Helpline (01-674-0200 Mon/Tues/Thurs/Fri 10am-1pm) . Frontline service providers and legal professionals interested in training on migrant domestic violence can learn more about training opportunities here.