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What is domestic violence?
Domestic abuse and violence can happen to anybody regardless of age, disability, gender identity, race, religious belief or sexual orientation.
Domestic abuse and violence is a serious crime in the UK. Do not tolerate it. People can be prosecuted for being a perpetrator of domestic abuse and violence.
In addition, if a perpetrator is convicted of crimes related to domestic abuse and violence, it may have a detrimental effect on their immigration status in the UK.
If you are planning to leave an abusive relationship, you may want to ask for help and support from professionals and trusted friends in order to do it in the safest way possible.
Domestic abuse and violence can comprise such things as:
- Emotional abuse - including threats to harm you and restricting where you go or who you see. Also restricting contact with family or friends.
- Psychological abuse - including constant criticism and bullying.
- Physical - including punching, kicking, burning or strangling.
- Sexual - including force and intimidation. Rape.
- Financial - including controlling your money and bank account.
Domestic violence and abuse can also include: forced marriage, honour based violence and female genital mutilation:
Forced marriage is where someone is forced to marry against their will. It is a criminal offence in the UK
For advice on forced marriage contact:
- Karma Nirvana on: 0800 5999 247
- The Forced Marriage Unit on: 020 7008 0151.
Honour based violence is a violent crime or incident which may have been committed to protect or defend the honour of the family or community. It is illegal in the UK.
For advice on honour based violence contact:
- Karma Nirvana on: 0800 5999 247
Female genital mutilation is illegal in the UK and is regarded as child abuse. It is usually carried out on young girls between infancy and the age of 15. Also, taking the young girls abroad to carry out the act of female genital mutilation is a criminal offence.
For advice on female genital mutilation:
- NSPCC: 0800 028 3550
Options if you don't have 'Leave To Remain'
If your immigration status means that you do not have leave to remain in the UK and therefore no right to public funds, there may be another option for you to apply for public funds and therefore live independent of an abusive partner.
If you are in the UK on a spousal visa you can apply for what is known as the Destitution Domestic Violence Concession (DDVC). This allows people fleeing domestic violence to access public funds for a three-month period, while UK Visas and Immigration considers your application to settle in the UK.
Applying for DDVC is covered by Legal Aid and this includes the application for recourse to public funds as well as the application for settlement. It is not advisable to try and start the process without taking legal advice as the process is complex and quick.
Social services or the Portal (details at the end of the section) may be able to help find a relevant solicitor. Also, Links, a project offering support for asylum seekers and refugees, can provide guidance on initial procedures. Contact details for both the Portal and Links are at the end of the section.
The ability to receive public funds means you can could also apply for housing benefit or the housing element of universal credit. This means you would be able to access specialist accommodation that gives support to victims of domestic violence and abuse.
The DDVC only applies to those who are in the UK on spousal visas. EEA nationals are not eligible to apply. It does not apply to the partners of those on Student Visas. You may want to consult with a solicitor on what rights you may have in these instances.
To access help:
There are many other ways to get help and support:
If you, or someone else, are in immediate danger call the police on 999.
For emergency refuge accommodation in East Sussex call the Refuge 24 hour team on: 07795 968400.
24 hour Freephone national domestic violence helpline: 0808 2000 247.
The Portal is a partnership of leading abuse charities. The Portal helps survivors of domestic or sexual abuse or violence of all genders to find support in Brighton & Hove and East Sussex,
- Freephone: 0300 323 9985
- The Portal website
Victim Support provides support for people affected by crime or traumatic events.
- Victim Support: 0808 168 9274
- Victim Support website
Links Project (support for asylum seekers and refugees), Hastings.
- Address: Concordia Hall, Church Road, St Leonards. TN37 6HB.
- Phone number: 01424 444010
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Links offer drop in sessions on Wednesdays between 10am and 4:00pm.