Domestic Violence and Migrants
What is Domestic Violence? The term ‘domestic violence’ goes beyond actual physical violence. It can also involve emotional abuse; the destruction of property; isolation from friends, family and other potential sources of support; threats to others including children; stalking; and control over access to money, personal items, food, transportation and the telephone.
Immigration Status: Any person experiencing domestic violence can encounter difficulties in reporting incidents and in accessing support services and remedies. Migrants face additional barriers, for example language barriers, social isolation and lack of knowledge regarding available supports or remedies. Some migrant’s immigration status may also be dependent on their relationship. This can make them fear that leaving an abusive relationship will cause them to lose their right to reside in Ireland.
No one should have to suffer domestic violence and it is a matter that is taken seriously by the authorities. You do not have to remain in an abusive relationship in order to preserve your entitlement to remain in Ireland.
Victims of domestic violence may make a written application to INIS to obtain residence independently of their abusive spouse/partner/sponsor. Information on the application process is available here.
The official Domestic Violence Guidelines published by the INIS states,
No one should have to suffer domestic violence and it is a matter that is taken seriously by the authorities. Migrants may have additional vulnerability in this area in that the person committing domestic violence may say “if you report this you will lose your immigration status”. This is not true. Domestic violence should always be reported and you do not have to remain in an abusive relationship in order to preserve your entitlement to remain in Ireland.
Nasc’s legal service can assist you with information on your immigration permission and make an application for independent residency. We may also be able to assist in gaining access to social protection and access to social housing issues. Find out more about our free legal service here.
There are many organisations in Ireland that can help you if you are in abusive relationship. If you avail of our legal service, we will work with other agencies to make sure you can access the supports you need to leave an abusive relationship.
Listed below are other organisations that support victims of domestic violence and will be able to direct you to an appropriate service working in your area.
COSC, the National Office for the Prevention of Domestic, Sexual and Gender-based Violence
This is a government organisation that works to prevent domestic, sexual and gender-based violence. It does not provide support directly but it provides lists of organisations across Ireland that can. See their website for more information on local services for victims of domestic and sexual abuse, for both men and women.
Amen (for men experiencing domestic violence)
Amen Support Services Ltd. is a voluntary group, founded in December 1997, which provides a confidential helpline, a support and information service for male victims of domestic abuse. Amen provide a confidential helpline (telephone service). The number is 046 9023 718. Their website is available here.
They provide a National Helpline (telephone service) with an interpretation service. The number is free to call on 1800 341 900. It is open 10am to 10pm, 7 days a week except Christmas Day. They provide a number of support services in Dublin and can also refer you to local services. Women’s Aid state:
The Women’s Aid National Freephone Helpline can access an interpreter in your language. Therefore if you would like to speak with a support worker you can call the Helpline on 1800-341-900. Tell the support worker the language you speak, then they will ask you to ‘hold’ and they will connect you to an interpreter. The interpreter can then facilitate you to communicate with the support worker. All calls to our Helpline are free and confidential.
See their website for more information.
See our Campaign Page for more information on how Nasc campaigns for the rights of migrants in situations of domestic abuse.
The information presented here is provided in good faith and every effort is made to ensure that it is accurate and up to date. All content is intended for informational purposes only and should not be relied upon as a substitute for legal advice. Nasc does not accept liability for the use or misuse of the information presented here. Thank you for your co-operation.
Nasc is a non-profit organisation. We receive no government funding, demand no payment from our clients, and rely on donations to enable us to provide our service. If you have found the information on this page useful, please consider making a donation – every euro received goes towards helping us to protect human rights, promote integration and campaign for change.