Vulnerable migrant women have rights in Ireland says ICI chief Killoran
2017-12-15 17:05:00 -
Human Rights


Victims of domestic abuse whose right to live in Ireland is dependent on their spouse or partner have been reminded they are entitled to their own “independent status”, according to the Immigrant Council of Ireland (ICI).


In a recent statement highlighting a number of recent cases handled between January and 11 December 2017 as part of the international UN-sponsored 16 Days of Action Opposing Violence Against Women, ICI chief executive Brian Killoran blamed the situation on Ireland’s immigration restrictions.


“Immigration rules, which make one person’s immigration permission dependent on the activities and cooperation of their partner or spouse, are often exploited by perpetrators of abuse,” he said. 


“The abuse can include a refusal by the perpetrator to share essential documents or corroborate evidence if they have them in their possession, or threats to report any potential change in relationship status to the authorities, all of which place an individual in fear of becoming undocumented or being removed from the country.”


Killoran said many victims who are aware of immigration improvements introduced since 2012 are seeking help. 


“However, the system is not perfect – it is discretionary, there is a €300 registration fee and many victims do not know they are eligible.”


Help is not only available to those with an established right of residency, Killoran added. 


“Asylum-seeking women living in direct provision also have some protections if they disclose the abuse. They can apply to Reception and Integration Agency for a transfer if there is evidence of abuse, and can apply also for a barring order which can result in the perpetrator being transferred to another direct provision centre.”


Killoran urged Irish authorities to provide more and “better safeguards” for vulnerable women. 


“During these 16 days of international activism we would like to see improved policies supporting victims of domestic abuse, including more straightforward access to social protection services including access to refuges or rent supplement as required and free legal aid,” he said.



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