Thank you for contacting me about domestic abuse.
Protecting women and girls from violence and supporting victims regardless of their immigration status is a key Government priority. The Domestic Abuse Bill has been introduced to Parliament and I welcome the fact that Ministers have said they are determined to ensure the Bill is enacted and implemented as soon as possible.
A Domestic Abuse Commissioner has been established to provide public leadership on domestic abuse issues. The commissioner will be required to have a specific focus on the needs of victims and survivors from minority or marginalised groups including migrants.
I believe it is important to find the most effective way of ensuring these victims have support, rather than providing a pathway to indefinite leave to remain or a blanket lifting of the no recourse to public funds condition. After looking into this issue for you, I understand that there is a lack of evidence at the current time as to which cohorts of migrants are most likely to need support, the numbers involved and how effective existing arrangements are.
I hope you will agree with me that without clear information of this kind, it is not possible to be absolutely sure any additional funding or support services are targeted correctly and effectively. I understand the Government's approach is therefore to deal with the evidence gaps I have mentioned so as to be able to take well-grounded decisions on how best to protect these victims.
Work on this is now underway and it has been announced that Ministers will be inviting bids for grants from a pilot fund of £1.5 million to cover the cost of support in a refuge or other safe accommodation. In addition, this pilot will be used to assess the level of need for this group of victims in order to inform spending review decisions on longer-term funding.
Thank you again for taking the time to contact me.
Craig Whittaker MP