MP Victoria Atkins urged to protect domestic abuse victims

Campaigners are urging Victoria Atkins MP to make a stand for all victims of domestic abuse – including those with insecure immigration status.

MP for Horncastle and Louth, Victoria Atkins. EMN-200106-164725001

Atkins, who is MP for Louth and Horncastle, is responsible for the Bill in her role as Minister for Safeguarding.

The Domestic Abuse Committee will be scrutinising the Domestic Abuse Bill throughout June.

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The Step Up Migrant Women coalition - a coalition of more than 50 BAME specialist frontline services, migrant and human rights organisations, including the Latin American Women’s Rights Service, Southall Black Sisters and Amnesty International UK – is urging the Committee to offer equal protection to migrant victims of domestic abuse, who are often blocked from accessing refuge beds and other vital support.

COVID-19 is exacerbating a domestic abuse crisis in the country, and there has been huge public backing for the Government to provide more support to victims.

An Amnesty International poll conducted by Opinium in April revealed overwhelming support amongst people in the East Midlands for the Government to do more in response to the pandemic:

67% agree that the government should do more to ensure all victims of domestic abuse are protected

The survey also revealed support in the East Midlands for the most vulnerable victims receiving greater protection, including those without a secure immigration status:

• 65% agree the Government should do more to protect the most vulnerable victims of domestic abuse, regardless of their immigration status;

• 56% agree the Government should provide more funding to support specialist services providing support for the most vulnerable victims of domestic abuse, such as those without secure immigration status;

• 71% agree the Government should treat all victims of domestic abuse equally.

Kate Allen, Director of Amnesty International UK, said: “Victoria Atkins and the rest of the Domestic Abuse Committee have a chance to make a real difference for all victims of domestic abuse.

“Currently women with an insecure immigration status often don’t have access to public funds and are blocked from receiving vital support, like refuge beds and healthcare.

“There is clear support in the UK for a fairer system that treats all domestic abuse victims equally.

“No woman should be denied the option to escape abuse to safety. The Domestic Abuse Bill is an opportunity to ensure all women have access to support - we hope MPs make this happen.”

Opinium interviewed 2,000 UK adults online between 24 and 27 April 2020. Results were weighted to achieve a nationally representative sample.