Thursday, 14 October 2010

Dealing with Domestic Violence

Posted on by Action for Social Integration
Don't let your immigration status prevent you from reporting domestic violence!
An act of domestic violence is any act of “threatening behaviour, violence or abuse between adults who are in a relationship, or between family members” (Home Office). Remember that while most often domestic violence takes the form of direct physical or sexual assaults (beating, hitting, kicking, etc.), it can also include acts of emotional abuse (bullying and humiliation, exercise of control over money or information, etc.). Any of the following could be an incident of domestic violence: beating, threats of harm, forced marriage, female genital mutilation, financial control.

Women from immigrant and refugee backgrounds are particularly vulnerable in cases of domestic violence: they are less likely than other women to seek protection and support due to concerns with their immigration status, emotional and financial reliance on the abusive partner or fear of deportation (especially when their immigration status has not been confirmed).

!Remember that whatever your immigration status is you are ALWAYS entitled to protection just like any other woman in the UK.
!Remember that whichever organization you decide to contact for advice or assistance, the information you share will always be entirely confidential.
Don`t let your financial situation stop you from seeking support and protection!
If your immigration status prevents you from claiming state benefits or taking on paid work, this makes you more dependent on your partner. Yet, you need to know that there are charity organizations which will provide you with accommodation and financial support even if you cannot use public funds. To enquire about them:
Call the FREE 24 Hour National Domestic Violence Helpline- 0808 2000 247
Email the national domestic violence charity Women`s Aid:

If you no longer feel safe at your home environment, ask these organisations to refer you to a “refuge”. Refuge is a safe house (with a confidential address and no access for men) for women and children escaping domestic violence: Discuss your situation with an adviser from the Refuge organisation by calling 7700 020 7395 or emailing
Alternatively, you may prefer to remain at home but restrict your partner`s access to it through an “occupation order”: an occupation order may deny your partner`s right to return to and occupy your property. Call the Women`s Aid Groups, Law Centre or Citizens Advice Bureau to enquire how you can make an application for an “occupation order”:
            Find your local Law Centre
            Find your local Citizens Advice Bureau
Don`t let language barriers stop you from seeking support and protection!
Many organizations that work with victims of domestic violence have access to interpreters or employ staff who speaks a variety of languages!
Don’t let concerns with your culture, ethnicity or religion stop you from seeking support and protection!
Anyone could become a victim of domestic violence, disregarding of ethnicity or religion. Once you have contacted the Women`s Aid organization, you may ask your adviser to refer you to organizations where you can get support from women from the same cultural, ethnic or religious group as yourself.

For more practical guidelines prepared specifically for victims of domestic violence with insecure immigration status, check Women`s Aid “Domestic Violence Survivors Handbook”

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Our Vision and Services

Our vision is of a society where no one should experience discrimination on the grounds of their mental health.

Mental health problems are extremely common across society, with one in four of us experiencing them in any year. Despite being so common, people from all communities will still experience discriminatory attitudes and behaviours that can prevent people from speaking out, seeking support and playing full and active roles in our communities. The impact of mental health stigma and discrimination will vary between communities as mental health has a cultural context that affects the way communities talk about the subject and engage with people who have mental health problems. In some cultures depression, for example, doesn't exist and in others an experience of a mental health problem can be attached to a sense of shame.

For the African and Caribbean communities a key issue is the overrepresentation of young African and Caribbean men in mental health services. Misconceptions and stereotypes have led to a perception that this group is more likely to pose a risk of violent behaviour and, as a result, they are more likely to be treated as inpatients and sectioned when compared to other groups. It is well documented that this has led to a fear of talking about mental health issues more openly and a fear of using mental health services. Research by the Race Equality Foundation (2011) also highlighted fears that discrimination against Black & Minority Ethnic (BME) communities and migrant service users will increase in the austerity climate and whilst commissioning arrangements change.

Our Services

· Provide information, advice, advocacy

· Represent diversity communities in Health Care services, policies and strategies

· Organise training in health and social care in collaboration with local colleges

· Provide human resources ( including interpreters) who are suitable to the diversity communities especially to break language and cultural barriers

· Provides domiciliary care and support

· Provide services such specialised support for people with mental health needs, including people who suffer from short-term memory problems, Dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease.

· Provide visits to elderly people and help them with outings and home services

· Participate in local authority and NHS consultations , research events and programmes to voice the needs of diversity communities.

· Increase access to services and rights for disadvantaged people and the most vulnerable of our society

· Help and support unemployed people to look for work, including training and job preparation

· Provide legal advice in a range of issues from on Immigration and Asylum , welfare benefits, housing, health, education, community care, and training, employment, etc.

· Provide advice and guidance, information and practical help so that our service users can access opportunities they are entitled to

· Organise training and other community learning opportunities that provide new skills, increase confidence and motivation

· Support our service users to overcome barriers to learning, employment and training

· Provide support for young people with their education, training, confidence building, employment and social needs.

Objectives of our Diversity Living Programme:

· To promote the inclusion and participation of diversity communities* in integrated care.

· To inform policy, locally and nationally, and assisting in the formulation of effective policies, strategies and good practices in integrated care in order to contribute to improved health outcomes for the people from the diversity communities (e.g. Black and minority ethnic communities) and to ensure health services are able to meet their specific needs.

· To improve the quality of life for diversity people with disability, mental health problems and their families and carers through integrated care by providing inclusive advocacy and information.

· To provide service that enable diversity groups and individuals with disability /elderly and their carers to make the right choice for themselves and have an influence on decisions made about their future.

· To promote the rights of diversity people with disability, their families and carers and make sure their rights are safe and protected.

· To promoting access to information regarding healthcare issues and to raise awareness of the needs of diversity disabled children, young people, older people and their families.

· To promote the rights of older and disabled diversity people, helping them overcome and enable them to participate in decisions about their future

· To provide support and information to those suffering the isolation and loneliness that can be associated with disability and old age

· To fight against mental health stigma in refugee, black and minority ethnic communities and ensure no one should experience discrimination on the grounds of their mental health or disability.

*Diversity communities are older people, disabled people, Black, Asian, refugees, migrants, asylum seekers and other ethnic minorities.