Domestic violence policy and legislation in the UK: a discussion of immigrant women’s vulnerabilities

Sofia Graca


The desire to prevent domestic violence and support its victims has driven a number of changes in governmental law and policy in the UK, particularly since the 1970s. This culminated with the implementation of a multi-agency approach in the 1990s that is still used today. The specific needs of immigrant women, however, have not always been taken into account when introducing these changes. This article assesses whether and how current UK legislation and policy on domestic violence address immigrant women’s added vulnerabilities. It does so by reviewing this legislation and policy against the socio-economic, cultural and individual barriers that immigrant women are most likely to experience in accessing justice in the country of destination. It suggests that the current provision does not adequately support immigrant women to overcome these barriers, and that greater awareness of their experiences and socio-cultural positioning is needed to better assist them when seeking help to escape domestic violence.

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