United Kingdom: Domestic Abuse Bill Falls Short in Protecting Immigrant Women
Wednesday, October 23, 2019 11:15 AM

The UK recently proposed a Domestic Abuse Bill mentioned in the Queen’s speech on October 14th, 2019. Though the bill is an important step toward combatting domestic abuse, it falls short of protecting immigrant women. The bill aims to strengthen laws against not only physical but also emotional, economic and financial abuse. The bill is does not adequately protect victims, however, particularly Chinese immigrant women.

Lack of cultural understanding of spousal abuse and complications related to immigration status make it challenging for these women to come forward. Within their community, Chinese immigrant women routinely receive the message that “Domestic violence is family business, nothing to do with the community or the authorities.” It is also common for Chinese women to be on spouse visas, making it difficult for them to separate from their partner since they are not entitled to government housing aid on their own. Other limits to the new bill for immigrant women include language barriers, inadequate penalties for abuse, and difficulty in providing evidence of abuse.

Compiled from: Clarke, Hilary, UK gets tough on domestic abuse as ‘helpless’ Chinese women suffer in silence, South China Morning Post (October 13, 2019).