Blog of Feminist Activism

The feminist activism of charliegrrl and co

No recourse to public funds protest

Posted by charliegrrl on April 16, 2008

So imagine you are an in abusive relationship, but you are unable to access a refuge, or seek emergency accomodation from your local council to escape, because the government refuses to give you benefits to pay the rent or even for food. Shit..? Well of course and this is the situation facing many black and migrant women who come to Britain on the basis of marriage. They are refused access to public funds, such as rent and basic income…until after a two year probationary period and until their immigration status has been established. This leaves refuges in the awful position of turning away battered women soley because they are not classed as having British citizenship and leaves many women trapped in abusive partnerships through economic dependency.

On 1 March 2006, Kent Police contacted Southall Black Sisters about an Asian woman who had been subject to violence and who did not have secure immigration status. She came to the UK under a 2 year probationary visa as the spouse of a British national. The police did not want to return her to her marital home to face what they described as ‘certain death’.

They had no where else to place her. All attempts to find her a place to live, including in women’s refuges, had been unsuccessful because she could not claim benefits to pay her rent or living expenses. In desperation, the police stated that they were minded to contact the Home Office to have her detained as she had no other alternative place to live.

Taken from Southall Black Sisters

Many women’s rights groups and services will be protesting April 23rd, to lobby the government to support all women who wish to leave abusive partnerships with public funding, not exclude some on the basis of immigration status.

Demonstrate Wednesday 23rd April 2008 Victoria Embankment 11am

Public Meeting, Portcullis House (nearest tube Westminister) 1pm

For more info and a template letter to send to your MP

2 Responses to “No recourse to public funds protest”

  1. rychousmama said

    Well if that isn’t misogyny and white supremacy rolled into one I dunno what is. How fucking depressing. I wish I was there in the UK to support those women, to help out some way, even, hell, to speak out and help protest. How can you deny a woman’s basic right to live as a human being because she’s not a British citizen??? Jesus Mary and Joseph! And as if it wasn’t bad enough for the white British citizen women.

  2. Arantxa said

    Apparently, the same women are not entitled to English courses for those two years. I’d have to check up on whether or not this is so but if it is then that’s just another factor contributing to their isolation and dependency on their husband.

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