Tatanya came to England from Eastern Europe after she had married her husband who had settled status in the UK.

Tatanya came to England from Eastern Europe after she had married her husband who had settled status in the UK. Tatanya’s immigration status to stay in this country was dependent on her husband’s and was governed by the then one year rule (now 2 years) which stated that she must remain living with her husband for at least one year, before she could apply for leave to remain and have access to public funds. Tatanya had been told by her husband that she would be deported if she left him and as a consequence suffered regular physical and sexual violence as well as mental abuse and was treated like a slave. Tatanya eventually reported a violent assault at a police station, after her husband had systematically kicked and beaten her. He was subsequently arrested and charged with Actual Bodily Harm, but he was allowed bail, albeit with conditions not to contact her or to go near to the mobile home where she lived. However, because he was allowed bail, Tatanya continued to be at risk and although the domestic violence officer contacted several refuges, none were able to offer her a place, since her lack of access to public funds meant she could not claim housing benefit. She had been financially dependent on her husband and had no money to buy food or clothing, but was denied access to income support under the same immigration rules. The police were able to provide Tatanya with a panic alarm and mobile phone, but she was too afraid to use them for fear of being deported and her only contact with the outside world was with an English language college, once a week. Eventually, the domestic violence officer was able to obtain support for Tatanya through the local refuge outreach service. This service was able to organise an interpretator and access to an immigration lawyer, who made an application for leave to remain under the domestic violence concession rule. She finally obtained limited leave to remain and gained access to social security benefits and social housing. However, for several months she had to live in a precarious and unsafe situation, because she was denied access to public funds. (Based on information provided by PC Lisa Skeggs Hertfordshire Constabulary)

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