Campaign to help victims of domestic violence gains MP's support

November 6, 2008 11:23 AM

A high profile campaign calling for government help for immigrant women trapped in violent marriages is being backed by Cambridge MP David Howarth.

He will speak in Cambridge city centre on Saturday, November 29 in support of the Amnesty International campaign.

The charity is fighting for women living in Britain on temporary or spousal visas to have the right to ask for help from the public purse.

At the moment, although they could be suffering the most degrading and life-threatening violence within their marriages, they are not allowed to seek safety in a refuge.

Refuges can only accept women who are in receipt of housing benefit and have to turn away these women to face either further violence at home or destitution.

"This is an appalling situation," said Mr Howarth. "These women should be able to feel safe while living in the UK and the system is letting them down badly.

"We need to address this issue as a matter of the utmost urgency."

Amnesty International will draw attention to the plight of the immigrant victims of domestic violence between 11am and 3pm in the Market Square.

It wants the government to lift the rule which states that these women have no recourse to public funds.

Truus Abbink, co-ordinator of the Stop Violence Against Women group of Amnesty International, said: "In the UK we imagine that all women facing violence can leave it and seek refuge, but this is not an option for these women. I understand that the UK is in breach of international law in this respect.

"I do not think that the piecemeal and sporadic grants offered by the government to try to remedy this problem are a real solution."

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