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Are you a victim of Domestic Violence?

Robina Shah optimus law

By ROBINA SHAH

What is Domestic Violence?

Domestic violence is a violation of one’s human rights. Whilst it can affect men and women from all ethnic backgrounds and societies, it has been identified that migrants are predominantly susceptible due to the status’ they hold in in the UK. However, it is important that all migrants are aware of how they can apply to remain in the UK as victims of domestic violence, and this will be explored in this blog.

Domestic violence is behavior that is violent/aggressive involving a spouse or partner. It is important to realize that it is not just physical- it can also be verbal threats and controlling behavior.

What do I need in order to apply?

If you have leave to remain in the UK as a spouse/partner of a British citizen, you can request permission to stay as a victim of Domestic Violence.

  • If you have not made an application to remain as a spouse you cannot apply.

What is Appendix FM and what does it mean for migrant victims?

 Appendix FM is a section of the Immigration rules regarding family immigration outside the EU. Which is more commonly referred to as “spouse visa”

  • If you have come to the UK under Appendix FM, the Home office will consent to you staying in the UK permanently if your relationship has ended due to domestic violence.

Can I get Legal Aid?

 Legal aid is available for applicants that are eligible financially.  However, as evidence is required and appeal rights are not easily identified, it is imperative that applicants seek legal representation so that they can be advised as to whether or not they have a chance of obtaining legal aid.

Can I claim benefits, as I am now destitute?

It is possible to apply for short-term leave under destitute domestic violence concession. Migrants who are victims of domestic abuse will apply for this concession as a first step.

In order for the claim to be successful, the applicant must show that:

  • They have been approved leave to remain as a partner
  • They plan to apply for leave to remain as a victim of domestic violence.
  • Domestic violence is the cause of the broken relationship
  • Access to public funds is a necessity so that they can leave the relationship

Can I apply for a fee waiver?

It is possible to apply for a fee waiver by sending in the application without the fee, alongside evidence to show that you qualify for a waiver.  The applicant must show that they do not have satisfactory accommodation or that they do have accommodation or the finances to obtain it but cannot meet other needs of living.

 What are the application rules?

 So that the application is successful, applicants must:

  • Be in the UK – it seems easy to show but can lead to victims being left in difficult situations. for example, if the victim’s spouse takes them abroad and then abandons them, without their passports/documents, the victim will not be able to apply for leave to remain.
  • Evidence of identity- applicants are advised to apply for a passport from their embassy.
  • Paying fees- £2,389 or application for a fee waiver.
  • Not fall for refusal under the suitability obligations for indefinite leave to remain.
  • Meet eligibility criteria

 Where can I get help?

Contact Optimus Law who will be able to assist you with your application, we also have a Legal Aid contract and can deal with your application by way of public funding (legal aid)

Anita Patel is the head of Legal Aid and will be happy to assist you.  She can be contacted on 0121 516 0288, anita.patel@optimuslaw.co.uk

There are many organisations that can help victims affected by domestic violence and abuse.

For women: National Domestic Violence helpline

Helpline: 08008 200 0247

For men: Men’s Advice Line

Helpline: 0808 801 0327