Research details

No recourse, no support: state policy and practice towards South Asian women facing domestic violence in the UK

Author[s] Anitha, Sundari

Date 2010



The study looks at the extent to which government policy and practice meet the needs of women with insecure immigration status [known as no recourse to public funds – NRPF] who are experiencing domestic violence. The study was commissioned by Saheli – a specialist domestic violence service based in Manchester, United Kingdom, and funded by Oxfam.


The study was conducted between January and June 2007. A total of 30 people took part in the study alongside 8 women’s refuges. The data was gathered by community interviewers [action research] who conducted qualitative interviews with 30 South Asian [Indian, Pakistani and Bangladeshi] women who are survivors of domestic violence and who had NRPF and were living in the North West and Yorkshire regions of England. Most of the research participants were recruited through domestic violence services but snowballing technique was also employed.

Key issues

The paper argues that the NRPF represents a serious obstacle to accessing services, particularly for a very vulnerable group of women; it undermines women’s ability to end abusive relationships, recover from them and rebuild their lives.


The paper highlights a number of recommendations including making public funds accessible to survivors of domestic violence and reimbursing housing and living costs to indefinite leave to remain [ILR] receivers under the Domestic Violence Rule. The author indicates an urgent need to strengthen specialist provision that is facing funding costs and as a long-term solution a change in law.

Further details

Resource type
journal article

British Journal of Social Work

Published by
Oxford University Press
40, 462-479

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