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Asylum seekers and domestic abuse

If you are an asylum seeker and you're being abused by your partner or a member of your family then there are certain steps you can take to protect yourself from harm.

What is domestic abuse?

Domestic abuse occurs when someone close to you (usually a spouse, a partner or an ex-spouse or ex-partner) behaves towards you in a way that inflicts physical, mental or emotional damage. There is more to domestic abuse than physical violence. You can find out more information in our section on domestic abuse.

You don't have to accept domestic abuse of any kind - you can do something about it.

What can I do to stop the domestic abuse?

If you are being physically, emotionally or verbally abused by your partner or a member of your household then you should contact the police. In an emergency situation this can be done by dialling 999. Otherwise you should phone or visit your nearest police station.

If you want to leave the family home or you want to make your partner leave then you should inform the UK Border Agency (or the organisation that provides your accommodation) of your situation as soon as possible. They should be able to find you somewhere safe to stay if you want to leave the family home. They can also find somewhere for your partner to live if you want them to move out.

You should also contact the Scottish Refugee Council or Positive Action in Housing. They will be able to discuss your options with you and offer you support and guidance.

How can my housing provider help?

Your accommodation provider is the organisation that owns your home. If you're not sure who provides your accommodation then you should check the occupancy agreement that you signed when you moved into your home. If you need information or help then contact the Scottish Refugee Council or Positive Action in Housing.

Your accommodation provider will then try to find you and your children (if you have any) somewhere safe to stay temporarily. If the accommodation provider can't find you alternative accommodation straight away then it might refer you to a refuge or shelter.

I've already left my home

If you've already left your accommodation and found somewhere else to stay, the UK Border Agency should pay reasonable costs for that accommodation until an 'action plan' can be made. You will generally be visited by an Agency investigator who should offer you immediate cash support if you can't access normal payments because they are being paid to your old address.

What happens next?

The UK Border Agency investigator should hold a case conference, which you will be invited to attend. The conference should be held at a time that suits you, and an interpreter will be invited if you want one present. The conference is an opportunity for the UK Border Agency to gather information about your situation and to offer you advice about your options.

An action plan will probably be made at the conference. This plan might involve:

  • finding alternative long term accommodation for you
  • moving the person who has been abusing you to alternative accommodation
  • deciding to interview your offender with a view to evicting them
  • offering temporary supported accommodation to you and your children
  • agreeing measures to make you feel safe
  • if you are dependant then you should be advised to make your own asylum application.

Can I complain if I'm not happy with the decision?

If you are unhappy about the way your problem was handled then you can make a complaint either to the UK Border Agency or to your accommodation provider. For help making a complaint you should get in touch with the Scottish Refugee Council or Positive Action in Housing.

Will I have to leave my home?

Nobody will make you leave your accommodation if you don't want to. If you just want extra help and support coping with your relationship and the effect it is having on family life then you should contact the Scottish Refugee Council or Positive Action in Housing. These organisations will either be able to help you directly or put you in touch with someone who can.

You should also let your accommodation provider know about your situation. This might make it easier for you and any children you have to move out in the future if you change your mind about staying in your current home.

Scotland map Housing laws differ between Scotland and England.
This content applies to Scotland only.
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