Some $100 million dollars has been committed by the Federal Government to tackle domestic violence. Support groups now say some of this money should be paid to migrant women, escaping domestic violence.
Following a report by the the Victorian Royal Commission into Family Violence that recommended that women escaping violent relationships be entitled to crisis payments regardless of their visa status, a coalition of 135 groups have written an open letter to the Prime Minister urging him to make funds available to migrant women on temporary visas and fleeing domestic violence.
“Safety from domestic violence is a fundamental human right and must not be subject to a person’s visa status,” Mr Joe Caputo of the Federation of Ethnic Communities’ Councils of Australia recently told SBS, “So we feel that by these women being left behind, they are often forced to go back to violent domestic relationships or an abusive partner because they haven’t got access to services.”
Ms Xanthe Emery, a senior lawyer from the Immigration Advice and Rights Centre in Sydney (IARC) told SBS that Migrant women on temporary visas are particularly vulnerable when facing a situation of domestic violence. She pointed out that some 40 per cent of the IARC cases involve domestic violence; and explained that the language barrier, lack of family support in Australia and lack of knowledge about Australia’s legal system compound the problem for women on temporary visas.
“I have definitely had clients who were experiencing violence and didn’t know they could call the police, or that was something the police could help them with. They are told by their partners that if they report the abuse, their visa will be cancelled. And that threat is a very genuine fear for them, that they will be deported out of the country very quickly,” said Ms Emery.
The group’s open letter states that while violence against women is currently a national priority, the reforms however leave vulnerable migrant women behind and without access to basic services.
Source: Migration Alliance