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Immigration, asylum and domestic abuse

Domestic abuse affects women from all ethnic groups, and there is no evidence to suggest that women from some ethnic or cultural communities are any more at risk than others.

However, the form the abuse takes may vary; in some communities, for example, domestic abuse may be perpetrated by extended family members, or it may include forced marriage, or female genital mutilation (FGM). It may also include:

Woman with mouth crossed out

Stopping you from learning English or communicating with friends and family at home.

House as a padlock

Not letting you leave the house.

Plane through a fence

Threatening to have you deported if you do anything about the violence or abuse.

British Isles crossed out

Telling you no-one will help you if you try to leave because you have no rights in this country.

Documents being shredded

Destroying or hiding your passport and legal documents.

Up and down arrows in hands

Making you doubt yourself, or feel like you are imagining things.

Woman at doctor

Insisting on coming with you to the doctor and other appointments so you are never alone.

Fingers pointing

Threatening to tell your community that you are disobeying him and that you are a bad wife.

Hand with coins

Giving you little or no money, even for basic things like food.

Police officers

Telling you that you can’t call the police because you are in the country illegally.

Whatever your experiences, women from Black, Asian or minority ethnic communities are likely to face additional barriers to receiving the help that they need.

It is important that you seek support and advice, and find out what your options are, you can contact us or you can access help from WASLER or from:

  • The Scottish Women’s Rights Centre offer free legal information and support to all women, including those with no recourse to public funds.
  • Scotland’s 24 hour Domestic Abuse and Forced Marriage Helpline on 0800 027 1234 who can help you to work out your options. There is a translating and interpreting service available if English is not your first language and a multi-lingual website at
  • The Women`s Project who provide legal advice and representation to refugee and migrant women and children in Scotland who have an unsettled asylum/immigration position and who have experienced gender-based violence in their country of origin and/or the UK.
  • The Ethnic Minorities Law Centre (EMLC) provides legal advice and representation to individuals from Scotland’s Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) communities.

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