Spousal Visa

Supporting a client who arrived in the UK with her EEA National husband from Gambia in November, proved to be a challenge.
Not long after arriving her husband began sexually,phisically and financially abusing her. The client was socially isolated with no family or friends I began supporting her on a weekly basis when she disclosed the abuse to me. I advised her of her options and made contact with Women’s Aid refuge helpline.
When I was going through the referral with the refuge it became apparent that because the client was on a spousal visa the refuge did not know whether she would be able to access public funding.
We filled in the UKBA (UK Border Agency) form under the Domestic Violence Concession (DDV) which was declined due to her Visa expiring in March 2013. This meant that she had not been given leave to remain.
This left the client in a state of despair as the refuge would not take her that day, meaning she would have to stay with her abuser.
After numerous calls to other organisations and agencies no one knew whether she could access public funding therefore would not take her.
However, after more phonecalls and researching it was agreed that spouses of EEA Nationals could access public funding if the EEA National had worked in the UK.  Therefore, I managed to secure a refuge for my client and she arrived there safe and has now been rehoused and is accessing public funds.