Our client was a citizen of Pakistan who travelled to the UK on a spousal visa to live with her British husband; she was referred to me after she fled the marital address and disclosed domestic violence.
I met with her to discuss her options for remaining in the UK as a victim of domestic violence perpetrated by a British citizen and take instructions on her experiences. She was visibly extremely distressed by what she had experienced, meaning it was necessary to conduct our meetings in a relaxed, comfortable manner where she felt at ease to explain her story to me. By letting her lead the meeting at the beginning and prompting her at the end to fill in any gaps that I had left, it built a trusting rapport between us.
Our client explained to me that she arrived in the UK on a spousal visa in 2014 after marrying a British man arranged by her parents in Pakistan. She came to the UK extremely excited to start a new life in the UK with her new husband. Whilst in Pakistan, their relationship was not abusive and she had no reason to doubt the feelings she had for him.
A few days following her arrival in the UK, her husband and her mother in law became physically and verbally abusive towards her. As time went on, the abuse intensified in violence and frequency. Our client was made to work full time, without being allowed to keep the money she made. She was forced to pay all of the bills and any remaining money would be taken away. She was stripped of any possessions she had with her when she arrived, including sentimental jewellery gifted to her by her parents.
She was told daily that she was not wanted, she was physically and sexually assaulted on a monthly basis. If she was assaulted to the point where she required medical treatment, she was accompanied to the doctors by family members and made to lie about what had happened. Upon disclosing domestic violence to her parents in Pakistan, she was simply told to stay with her husband.
Our client was in an incredibly difficult position as she had no familial ties in the UK and being so isolated for a long period of time meant that she had very few friends. Eventually, she was brave enough to flee the house and seek the help she needed.
The legal position
Our client experienced three years of severe domestic violence and was understandably traumatised. Due to the nature of applications for indefinite leave to remain, it was important to obtain a detailed chronology of the abuse she has faced to produce a supporting statement. This would require a number of hours talking about the experiences she has been through in detail and as such, needed to be undertaken mindfully.
Our client had no access to public funds and was found to be destitute. Therefore our first step was applying for the domestic violence destitution concession. This grants an individual three months leave to remain in the UK initially, mainly to provide destitute victims of domestic violence a short period of time to find suitable accommodation and access to financial support. The condition of this leave is that before the three months is up, the main application must be made.
Within these three months, I worked with our client and various agencies to obtain evidence to support her claim. We completed the application form, obtained medical reports and statements from friends to whom she had disclosed domestic violence to, reports from domestic violence charities and a five page statement from herself. She is an incredibly strong woman who endured horrific abuse but had the strength to relive even the smallest of details of the incidents in a three hour meeting as we wrote her statement.
The Home Office accepted our client’s application and she was granted indefinite leave to remain in the UK which we were both thrilled about. She has been given the chance to start afresh in the UK and has already seized the opportunity to move on with her life. Our client now has the confidence to begin integrating herself into the UK and make lasting friendships.
If you require assistance to remain in the UK, our Indefinite Leave to Remain solicitors can help you.