“No one should have to suffer domestic violence and it is a matter that is taken seriously by the authorities. Migrants may have additional vulnerability in this area in that the person committing domestic violence may say “if you report this you will lose your immigration status”. This is not true. Domestic violence should always be reported and you do not have to remain in an abusive relationship in order to preserve your entitlement to remain in Ireland.” INIS
In an emergency situation you should call the Gardaí on 999.
Domestic violence or domestic abuse can take many forms and goes beyond actual physical violence. It can also involve the destruction of property; isolation from friends, family and other potential sources of support; threats to others including children; stalking; and control over access to money, personal items, food, transportation and the telephone. Domestic abuse affects both men and women.
If you are experiencing domestic abuse, there are many organisations that can help you. Women’s Aid have a helpline you can call to speak to a support worker and they will be able to direct you to your nearest support organisation. If you don’t feel confident speaking English, you can ask the support worker to connect you to an interpreter. Their phone line number is 1800 341 900. AMEN have a confidential helpline for men available at 046 9023718.
A support organisation will be able to give you information on court orders including barring, safety and protection orders.
Migrants in abusive relationships can be worried about their immigration status and are sometimes afraid to report abuse. If your immigration status is linked to that of an abusive partner, parent or child, you can apply for independent status as a victim of domestic violence. The INIS takes these applications very seriously and have issued guidelines on this matter. You may also be eligible to change the basis of your immigration status on other grounds e.g. if you have an Irish citizen child.
To apply for independent status, you can write a letter to the General Immigration Division of the INIS, 13-14 Burgh Quay, Dublin 2.
- Your letter of application should include the following information and documentation:
- Your immigration status (include Department of Justice reference numbers)
- A copy of the letter granting you your original permission to remain in the State (if available) or the dates and general circumstances of your arrival in the State
- Enclose copies of passports and your GNIB card (if available)
- If you have dependent children, you should include their details (it is particularly relevant if they have Irish or EU citizenship)
- Outline the history of domestic abuse and include any documentation you might have, for example any of the following: a letter from GP, domestic violence support service, social worker, Gardaí, refuge/ shelter etc, a medical report, photographs of any injuries sustained or any court orders issued.
The INIS may write back to you with some questions or requests for more documents. If you are concerned that your post may be read by the person abusing you, please contact a support organisation for assistance. Nasc routinely assists with these types of application or can direct you to an organisation closer to you that will be able to help you if you don’t live in Cork or cannot travel to Cork.