The Daily Telegraph

Artists back call to help abused migrant women

- By Charles Hymas Home Affairs editor

DAME JUDI DENCH and Keira Knightley are backing calls for legislatio­n to help migrant women trapped in cycles of domestic abuse due to fears of deportatio­n.

The star duo are among more than 40 actors, singers and artists who are supporting a 30,000-name petition to be presented to Priti Patel, the Home Secretary, urging her to amend the Domestic

Abuse Bill currently before the House of Lords.

They say that because women fleeing abusers are often referred to the Home Office by police, many stay in violent relationsh­ips for fear of being deported or losing their children once they report their abuse.

The joint campaign with Amnesty Internatio­nal is proposing four amendments to the Bill including a guarantee that women who report to the police or other services will be treated as victims and will not face immigratio­n enforcemen­t such as detention or deportatio­n.

It also proposes a clause explicitly stating that protection must be provided, without discrimina­tion on the basis of migrant status and it also calls for a right for migrant victims of domestic violence to apply to regularise their status independen­t of their abusive partners.

Other celebrity backers include Olivia Colman, Thandie Newton, Gillian Anderson, Emilia Fox, Emeli Sandé, Paloma Faith, Juliet Stevenson, Sir Patrick Stewart, Meera Syal and Bianca Jagger.

The current system means some immigrants with an insecure status cannot access public funds or housing and refuge support.

A study by King’s College London of 50 migrant domestic abuse victims found that 45 per cent were denied support by the police when reporting and 34 per cent were not believed by police.

The Home Office has set aside £1.5million for a pilot fund to cover the cost of support for migrant women with no recourse to public funds in refuges.

However, campaigner­s say this was not enough to protect all migrant women.

 ??  ?? Dame Judi Dench has backed a campaign to protect migrant women
Dame Judi Dench has backed a campaign to protect migrant women

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from United Kingdom