Spouses and partners of UK residents forced to flee abusive relationships will be able to access vital support services.
At present some spouses are forced to stay in abusive relationships because they are in the country on a spousal visa and have ‘no recourse to public funds’.
This means they are unable to access support during the two year visa probationary period.
But from next year victims will be able to access specialist services while their claim for residence in the UK progresses.
Tough checks will stop abuse
Home Secretary Theresa May explained that the announcement is part of an action plan to tackle all forms of violence against women and girls: ‘We are clear that no one should be forced to stay in an abusive relationship.
‘We have always said we will support the small number of spouses who must leave their relationship and are unable to access any support services. However we are very clear there will be tough checks in place to ensure this system is not abused by those seeking to stay in the country where they do not have the right to.’
Hundreds already supported
Victims of domestic violence in the country on a spousal visa are currently able to access some support services via a pilot programme which has been underway since November 2009.
Between December 2009 and January 2011, 587 women and 358 children have been supported through the Sojourner Project.