On 5 December 2013, Southall Black Sisters and Eaves for Women launched a research report on the impact of the DDV Concession one year on. The Destitute Domestic Violence Concession Monitoring Research Report sets out the main findings of the research which has monitored the implementation of the DDV Concession since it came into existence on 1 April 2012 following 20 years of campaigning led by SBS.
The DDV Concession allows abused women who enter the UK on spousal visas temporary stay of 3 months while they regularise their stay and to access basic welfare benefits and social housing. The research shows that the DDV Concession is working but there is still plenty of room for improvements. The main findings show that:
- There is still considerable ignorance of the DDV Concession in key agencies including Job Centre Plus, the Department of Work and Pensions and local authority housing departments;
- Staff in statutory agencies are unwilling to implement the DDV Concession;
- There is an average of 3 weeks delay before benefits are paid;
- A large number of women on non-spousal visas (64% of a sample of 242) continue to be trapped in abusive and violent relationships due to the no recourse to public funds requirement.
These problems mean that women cannot get immediate access to the support they need, without which they cannot be protected. The report makes a number of recommendations including:
- Fast tracking DDV applications;
- Extending the DDV Concession to 6 months to enable women to have sufficient time to obtain legal advice and representation which is itself becoming an increasing problem due to cut backs in legal aid;
- Extending the DDV Concession to other migrant women subject to abuse who remain trapped in violent and abusive relationships.