ICI: Domestic abuse victims suffering because of shortfall in the law

The Immigrant Council of Ireland has said that people are being left open to threats, abuse and violence - due to a shortfall in the law.

ICI: Domestic abuse victims suffering because of shortfall in the law

The Immigrant Council of Ireland has said that people are being left open to threats, abuse and violence - due to a shortfall in the law.

The ICI said many immigrants are not reporting such incidents - over fears it could impact on their ability to remain in the country.

The support group is calling for domestic violence victims to be offered protections under immigration laws.

The Immigrant Council of Ireland said that it has death with 54 cases in recent years where domestic violence was a key factor - eight alone in 2013.

The ICI is warning that there are many other similar cases - but the victims are too afraid to come forward.

The Council said immigrants feel trapped in violent relationships - due to fears that their status in Ireland is dependent on their spouse.

As a result - the Immigrant Council is warning that people are being left open to threats, abuse and violence - because of a shortfall in the existing law.

A submission to the Oireachtas Justice Committee - from nine groups including the ICI - is calling for domestic violence victims to be offered protections under immigration laws.

The group wants domestic violence to be formally recognised and a reform of the current administrative practices.

The Immigrant Council also says there are shortfalls in the provision of emergency accommodation and welfare support to victims.

"We have made a submission to the joint Oireachtas committee calling for legislation to be brought forward in Ireland that recognise domestic violence in relation to breakdown situations in Ireland," said Brian Killoran from the Immigrant Council of Ireland.

"But also provides adequate and appropriate coverage for people in those situations that they can access emergency support so that they can access financial assistance."

Mr Killoran is urging people who feel trapped in a life of violence to contact the authorities.

"Do not remain in a violent situation due to your fears around immigration status," he said.

"Approach the guards, approach support organisations and make sure that your immediate needs of safety are secured and then you can get advice about the immigration status as almost a secondary option."

The ICI wants the Justice Committee to begin holding hearings on the issue - next month.

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