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Find out your rights if you are an immigrant to the UK and your partner is abusive

AboutWhat you can do


If you are an immigrant to the UK and your partner is abusive, you may be unsure of what your rights are or what services are available to you. Your partner might tell you that you have no rights and that no one will help you.

Some women have ‘no recourse to public funds’, which means they are not entitled to welfare benefits. If you are unsure about your immigration status, you can find this out by looking at your passport. The options available to you will depend on your immigration status.

What you can do

If you have no recourse to public funds, it is possible to apply for a Destitute Domestic Violence Concession (DDVC) so that you can claim benefits. This means you can go to a refuge to flee abuse or apply for alternative housing because of domestic abuse. It is a good idea to seek legal advice as soon as you can on how to apply for a DDVC . It is also advisable to report domestic abuse to the Police, as in some cases reporting the abuse can support applications relating to your immigration status, in addition to giving you immediate protection from harm.

If you have come to the UK on a spouse or partner visa and you are experiencing domestic violence, then you can apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) straight away under the domestic violence rule.

The Somerset Domestic Abuse Service can help you no matter what your immigration status.

Our free and confidential helpline provides advice and guidance, and if English is not your first language, we can arrange for an interpreter who speaks your preferred language.

Last reviewed: October 5, 2023 by Jennifer

Next review due: April 5, 2024

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