Mailing list

For regular updates from IKWRO, subscribe to our mailing list here.
* = required field

powered by MailChimp!

Campaigning saves legal aid for domestic violence rule applicants

You may have seen our recent blog about government proposals to cut legal aid for women making applications under the ‘domestic violence rule’.

Under this rule women who come to the UK on a spousal visa but then face domestic violence can leave their marriage and apply for permission to stay in the UK in their own right.  Applications under the rule are complex and have to be completed within strict time limits. IKWRO was worried that without legal aid many women would be unable to apply.  In March we voiced our concerns as part of a Ministry of Justice consultation on legal aid, along with dozens of other women’s organisations.  More recently we have been working with MPs such as Bridget Phillipson, who previously ran a women’s shelter, to raise the issue in parliament.

Yesterday Jonathan Djanogly announced that the government had changed its position.  In response to a question asked by Conservative MP Ben Gummer, the Legal Aid Minister and Conservative MP said:

“After further consideration we accept that there is a real risk that, without legal aid, people will stay trapped in abusive relationships out of fear of jeopardising their immigration status. The type of trauma that they might have suffered will often make it difficult to cope with such applications. We also appreciate that people apply under great pressure of time, and access to a properly designated immigration adviser is a factor. We intend to table a Government amendment to bring such cases into scope at a later stage.”

This is an amazing campaign victory which will make an enormous difference to the women we work with.  The domestic violence rule is a vital lifeline for women who cannot return to their home countries, for example because they may face further violence there or because they would have to leave their children behind.  Now that we know women applying under the domestic violence rule will still get legal aid, all of us at IKWRO can breathe a big sigh of relief.

At the same time, this early victory doesn’t mean the end of campaigning on legal aid.  Problems remain in relation to family law and domestic violence, and the bill still excludes women who have been trafficked for sexual exploitation and other vulnerable women from accessing legal aid.  With colleagues at Rights of Women and other women’s organisations, we will continue campaigning on these issues so we can ensure that all women who have experienced violence have access to justice.

Find IKWRO on twitter and facebook.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Call IKWRO now:
Mon to Fri 9.30-5.30 0207 920 6460

For out-of-hours emergencies call
Kurdish / Arabic/English: 07846 275246
Farsi / Dari / English: 07846 310157

If you are in immediate danger dial 999

Out of hours press inquiries: 07862 733511


IKWRO is a registered charity number 1151507 founded in 2002. We are committed to providing non-judgmental support to women who speak Kurdish, Arabic, Turkish, Farsi, Dari, Pashtu and English.


Postal contact

IKWRO – Women’s Rights Organisation
PO Box 75229
E15 9FX

Contact us

Mon to Fri 9.30-5.30 0207 920 6460