I have RIGHTS newsletter, July 2011
PLEASE NOTE: ROW
’s advice lines
From 1 April Rights of Women have the followingadvice lines operating at the following times:
Family law advice line
020 7251 6577 (telephone) or 020 7490 2562 (textphone): Monday 11am-1pm, Tuesday andWednesday 2pm-4pm and 7pm-9pm, Thursday 7pm-9pm and Friday 12noon-2pm
Criminal law advice line
020 7251 8887 (telephone) or 020 7490 2562 (textphone): Tuesday 11am-1pm and Thursday 2pm-4pm.
Immigration and asylum law advice line
020 7490 7689 (telephone) or 020 7490 2562 (textphone): Monday 2pm-4pm and Wednesday 11am-1pm.Please amend your records and website accordingly.Flyers about
No recourse to public funds news
People who enter the UK on certain types of visa have to prove that during their stay, they will be able tosupport themselves without recourse to public funds. During their time here, the no recourse to public funds(NRPF) rule then prevents them fromaccessing state benefits, for examplehousing benefit or income support. TheNRPF rule includes people on spousalvisas. Until relatively recently, it meantthat women who came to the UK to joina husband or partner and ended upfacing domestic violence were unable toget state funding to cover their space ina refuge or other safe housing. Theywould either have to pay for itthemselves, or persuade the refugeprovider or their local authority to coverthe cost. This left many women unableto access protection.
How has this changed recently?
In late 2009 the government began funding a scheme called the Sojourner project. Through Sojourner, womenon spousal visas can get funding to stay in a refuge for a limited period of time while they applied for indefiniteleave to remain in the UK in their own right.The Sojourner Project has provided a vital lifeline for over 1000 women, but it was only a pilot scheme and itsfuture was always uncertain. Then in March the government promised that from next April, all women onspousal visas who are fleeing domestic violence will be given access to benefits while their indefinite leave toremain claim is being considered. Alongside thiscommitment, the government has promised thatfunding for the Sojourner project will be extendeduntil the new system comes into force. They havealso agreed to increase the timeframe within whichwomen are expected to put together and submittheir applications from 20 working days to 30. Thesedevelopments are cause for celebration indeed.
So does that mean the problem’s solved now?
No. The recent changes are very good news, butone remaining issue is that women who haveentered the UK on other types of visa are excluded.We think that all women who experience violenceshould have access to protection, and we willcontinue campaigning for the new rules to beextended to women on other types of visa. Also, the
recent Legal Aid, Sentencing andPunishment Bill, which would abolish legal aid forimmigration cases, would have an extremelynegative impact. Cate Briddick from Rights of Women discusses this issue below.