The Protection and Rights of Black and Minority Ethnic Women Experiencing Domestic Violence in Northern Ireland
Prepared for submission to CEDAW, June 2013 NICEM Report (Northern Ireland Council for Ethnic Minorities)
32 Pages Posted: 3 Dec 2013
Date Written: December 3, 2013
This paper is a scoping report, which examines the support sought by and provided to Black and Minority Ethnic (BME), (including immigrant) women who have experienced domestic violence in Northern Ireland. It forms part of a submission to the UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW).
Northern Ireland has changed dramatically since the peace agreement of 1998 and more recently, since 2004, has experienced an increase in migration from the European Economic Area. As the census shows, the ‘non-national’ population has increased from 1.8% in 2001 to 4.5% in 2011. This figure does not represent BME people who hold British or Irish nationality, so it is an under-representation of the proportion of those residing in Northern Ireland who are part of this minority population.
The findings reveal similar challenges faced by BME women elsewhere, such as isolation, language barriers, lack of familiarity with laws and services, and institutional racism. These factors all act as barriers to seeking help, and there is evidence of inappropriate responses to women who do seek help. Some of the most compelling findings are the ways in which immigration law and policy and the benefits system not only fail to address the needs of immigrant women who experience domestic violence in Northern Ireland, but can increase their vulnerabilities.
The paper makes a number of recommendations to CEDAW based on the findings.
The authors wish to acknowledge and thank Molly Churchill for her valuable contribution to the project and the input into this paper. Molly is an exchange intern at the Transitional Justice Institute from McGill University, Canada.
Keywords: black and minority ethnic, CEDAW, domestic violence, NICEM
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