We are working together to help victims of domestic violence and to keep women and children safe

Danielle Cohen
By Danielle Cohen Immigration Law Solicitor Linkedin
Danielle Cohen has over 20 years of experience as a lawyer and a reputation for offering professional, honest and expert advice.
20 January 2022

We have acted on behalf of a woman and her child.  The mother came to the UK as the spouse of a British national and the child came as her dependent.  Sadly, the the mother’s relationship with the husband broke down as a result of domestic violence towards her in the form of emotional, psychological, sexual and financial abuse.  In addition, contributing factors which led to the breakdown of the relationship was the emotional and physical abuse suffered by her son.  We assisted the applicant in making an application for indefinite leave to remain under Appendix FM of the Immigration Rules. The applicant and her son were granted indefinite leave to remain.  The Immigration Rules permit a victim of domestic violence, who resided in the UK as a spouse, to be granted indefinite leave to remain during the probationary period, i.e., the two and a half year period as a spouse, if the marriage broke down as a result of domestic violence.

To meet the eligibility requirement for indefinite leave to remain as a victim of domestic violence, one has to prove that they are married to a British national; that the relationship was subsisting at the start of the grant of leave; and that the relationship broke down because of domestic violence.  The Home Office guidance on Victims of Domestic Violence and Abuse Version 14.1 published in February 2018 makes it clear that domestic violence and abuse goes beyond physical and sexual violence.  The definition demonstrates that any incidents of partners using controlling or coercive behaviour also counts.  These include but are not limited to psychological, physical, sexual, financial or emotional abuse.  In our client’s case, we provided evidence from her family solicitors.  This information was prepared in the course of seeking an injunction against the husband.  We managed to demonstrate that the applicant’s husband exercised controlling behaviour and she had also been a victim.  The evidence provided in support of that was a letter from her GP confirming that she was diagnosed with depression because of an abusive relationship; a letter from the National Centre of Domestic Violence who she contacted for advice; and a police report demonstrating that she had confirmed her fears to the police and a local domestic abuse charity where she worked with a domestic abuse outreach practitioner.

The support she sought from multiple organisations who assessed her as a victim of domestic violence helped to convince the Home Office that she had been a victim of domestic violence.

In addition, we relied on the case law LA (paragraph 298A Causal Breakdown) (Pakistan) [2009] and the case of AI v SSHD [2007] demonstrating that the Immigration Rules confirm a discretion on an immigration case worker to decide what evidence to require an applicant who is seeking indefinite leave to remain as a victim of domestic violence to support their case.  It also demonstrated that the Immigration Tribunal must be careful to assess the evidence in the round, looking at the totality of the evidence, and remembering that a broken marriage may have ended before the parties separated and that the marriage may have broken down as a result of domestic violence even if other grounds are given in the divorce petition.  Mother and son are now happy and safe.