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How to Prove Domestic Violence for Spouse Visa ILR

If you or your children are in immediate danger, please call 999 and ask for the police. You can also call the 24-Hour National Domestic Violence Helpline on 0808 2000 247.

It is a distressing reality that domestic abuse and violence rose considerably across the UK. According to a recent in-depth investigation by the BBC’s Panorama programme, approximately two-thirds of women in abusive relationships have suffered more violence during the recent COVID-19 lockdown and ongoing pandemic. Around 75% of victims reported to Panorama that the lockdown made it harder to escape the abuse they were experiencing. While the Government has acted to add additional funding from national helplines, this did not happen until 19 days after lockdown started, at which point the incidents of abuse had risen sharply. CEO of the women’s aid charity Solace, Fiona Dwyer, explained to the programme, “The timing was dreadful, it should not have taken 19 days to mobilise any sort of action. And what it highlights is that it wasn’t a priority for the Government, it wasn’t thought about for the better part of three weeks … and then £2m is just really … it’s a poor effort.”

Domestic violence is experienced by British nationals and migrants alike, however, for the latter group, there is the additional worry that leaving their partner may result in them being forced to leave the UK. In many cases, this concern is unfounded as the Home Office have an initiative which allows spouse visa holders who have experienced domestic abuse to acquire ILR, enabling them to secure a safe future for themselves and their children. In this article, we will explain how an applicant under this scheme can provide the necessary evidence they have experienced domestic violence by their UK based partner.

How do the Home Office Define Domestic Violence and Abuse?

According to the Home Office guidance, they define domestic violence and abuse as, “Any incident or pattern of incidents of controlling, coercive or threatening behaviour, violence or abuse between those aged 16 or over who are, or have been, intimate partners or family members regardless of gender or sexuality”.

Domestic violence and abuse may take any of the following forms:

In addition, they also include controlling and coercive behaviour as forms of abuse; these are defined as:

Controlling behaviour

Controlling behaviour includes a range of acts designed to make a person subordinate or dependent by:

  • isolating them from sources of support
  • exploiting their resources and capacities for personal gain
  • depriving them of the means needed for independence, resistance and escape
  • regulating their everyday behaviour

Coercive behaviour is defined as:

  • an act or a pattern of acts of assault, threats, humiliation and intimidation, or;
  • other abuse that is used to harm, punish, or frighten their victim

Crucially, when it comes to assessing an application for ILR for a victim of domestic violence, the guidance says that “no distinction should be made between psychological (mental) abuse and physical abuse”. As such, if you are currently in the UK on a spouse/partner visa, and you are suffering any of these forms of abuse, you may be able to apply for ILR for victims of domestic violence.

Fee Waiver for Victims of Domestic Violence

Before we explain the evidence needed to support an application for ILR, it is important to note that if you are ‘destitute’ as a result of leaving your British or settled partner, you will be able to apply for a fee waiver, meaning you will not need to pay an application fee for ILR. This is referred to as the Destitute Domestic Violence (DDV) Concession. To be eligible for a fee waiver, applicants will need to meet the definition of destitute, which means they “do not have adequate accommodation or any means of obtaining it (whether or not their other essential living needs are met), or you do have adequate accommodation or the means of obtaining it, but cannot meet their other essential living needs”.

What Evidence Will I Need to Provide to Support my Application?

It is advisable that you engage the services of immigration Solicitors as soon as possible before you submit your application. Immigration lawyer understand the circumstances of those in this situation and will do everything they can to ensure your ongoing safety, and that of your children. This includes acting with the utmost discretion when it comes to communication whether face to face, by phone, or in writing.

The Home Office guidance (page 22 onwards) for the ILR for victims of domestic abuse provides an invaluable resource when it comes to understanding all of the forms of evidence (and the value of each) that can be provided to support your application.

It states that the following forms of evidence will be considered:

  • A criminal conviction of your partner for domestic violence will be considered conclusive evidence
  • A police caution - accepting a caution is an admission of guilt and can be accepted as evidence that domestic violence occurred
  • A final order in a civil court – this will be conclusive if the judge found that domestic violence occurred.
  • A Multi-agency risk assessment conference (MARAC) referral confirmed by any
  • person who is a member of a MARAC – considered strong evidence by the Home Office
  • A charging decision by the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) – considered strong evidence by the Home Office
  • A domestic violence protection order – considered strong evidence by the Home Office
  • A forced marriage protection order - considered strong evidence by the Home Office
  • A prohibited steps order and contact order - considered strong evidence by the Home Office
  • A letter from social services - considered strong evidence by the Home Office
  • A letter from organisation supporting victims of domestic violence (including a refuge) confirming that they have assessed the applicant as being a victim of domestic violence - considered strong evidence by the Home Office
  • A letter or statement from an independent witness - considered strong evidence by the Home Office
  • Arrest - considered moderate evidence by the Home Office
  • Ex-parte orders - considered moderate evidence by the Home Office
  • Interim orders - considered moderate evidence by the Home Office
  • Undertaking to court - considered moderate evidence by the Home Office
  • A police report of attendance at a domestic violence incident - considered moderate evidence by the Home Office
  • Medical report from UK hospital confirming injuries or condition consistent with domestic violence - considered moderate evidence by the Home Office
  • Medical report from a GP or medical professional - considered moderate evidence by the Home Office
  • Power of arrest - considered weak evidence by the Home Office
  • A letter, or statement from an official source, such as an advice agency or refuge, repeating the applicant’s account without confirming that applicant has been assessed as, or is being treated as, the victim of domestic violence - considered weak evidence by the Home Office
  • A statement from the applicant - considered weak evidence by the Home Office
  • A letter, statement, email, text or photos repeating applicant’s account of domestic

Violence - considered weak evidence by the Home Office

Final Words

By seeking the help and support of an immigration Lawyer, you can ensure that you have the necessary evidence to support your application for ILR. Doing so will ensure that the safety and security of you and your children can be assured.

If you or your children are in immediate danger, please call 999 and ask for the police. You can also call the 24-Hour National Domestic Violence Helpline on 0808 2000 247.

Related article

What do when UK Spouse Visa Marriage Breaks down

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"Anna Foley was the lawyer helping my partner obtain an EEA EFM visa. She was outstanding. Handling the case with constant correspondence over a lengthy, lockdown delayed 7-month application process. Her expert advice guided us successfully through some difficult times as a result of COVID-19. Some of the best service I have received for any service ever! Often replying to emails late at night, offering to send additional correspondence to the home office and going above and beyond in handling our case! Well done and thank you Reiss Edwards and thank you Anna!!".

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"Professional service. I was very impressed with the fact that my ILR application was successful 6 weeks after the submission amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. I also think the portfolio put together by the team at Reiss Edwards has played a big part in the quick turnaround of my application".

Reiss Edwards Reviews

O.L

"Andy Tieu is absolutely amazing, as a lawyer myself I can categorically say tha...

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Kiran Sardar

"I found Joe very helpful and tremendous patience which is a must in this profes...

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Cheyam Shaked

"Anna Foley was the lawyer helping my partner obtain an EEA EFM visa. She was ou...

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Isaac .T

"Professional service. I was very impressed with the fact that my ILR applicatio...

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