Individuals who were first granted limited leave as the spouse or partner of a British or settled person may apply for indefinite leave to remain as a victim of domestic abuse under Section DVILR of Appendix FM.
In order to make such an application, the Immigration Rules require that an applicant must provide evidence to show that the applicant’s marriage with their partner broke down permanently as a result of domestic abuse. As confirmed in the case of R(On the Application of) Suliman v SSHD , it is for the applicant to prove this on a balance of probabilities and for the Home Office to fairly consider the evidence and reach a conclusion on its basis.
Domestic abuse is not defined in the Immigration Rules, but the Home Office provides useful guidance on this. The Victims of domestic violence and abuse guidance defines domestic violence and abuse to be as follows:
Any incident or pattern of incidents of controlling, coercive or threatening behaviour, violence or abuse between those aged 16 or over who are, or have been, intimate partners or family members regardless of gender or sexuality. This can include, but is not limited to, the following types of abuse:
It also goes on to define controlling and coercive behaviour as:
Controlling behaviour is a range of acts designed to make a person subordinate or dependent by:
- isolating them from sources of support
- exploiting their resources and capacities for personal gain
- depriving them of the means needed for independence, resistance and escape
Coercive behaviour is either:
- an act or a pattern of acts of assault, threats, humiliation and intimidation
- other abuse that is used to harm, punish, or frighten their victim
The Immigration Rules also do not specify which type of evidence is required to prove domestic abuse or that a relationship has permanently ended because of it. The Home Office guidance once again supplements the Rules here and provides a table of evidence. This table provides a non-exhaustive list of evidence that may be produced and indicates how much value may be attached to each piece of evidence provided. A few examples are provided below.
|Type of evidence||Value of evidence|
|Criminal conviction relating to domestic violence||Conclusive evidence that domestic violence has occurred|
|Police caution||Conclusive evidence that domestic violence has occurred|
|Final order in civil court e.g. a non-molestaion or occupation order||Conclusive evidence that domestic violence has occurred if finding to this effect if made.
Strong evidence where no finding is recorded.
|Arrest||Moderate as the police have the power to arrest anyone who they suspect has committed a criminal offence and they have reasonable grounds for believing that arrest is necessary.|
|Statement or letter||Weak|
The information in this blog is for general information purposes only and does not purport to be comprehensive or to provide legal advice. Whilst every effort is made to ensure the information and law is current as of the date of publication it should be stressed that, due to the passage of time, this does not necessarily reflect the present legal position. Connaught Law and authors accept no responsibility for loss that may arise from accessing or reliance on information contained in this blog. For formal advice on the current law please don’t hesitate to contact Connaught Law. Legal advice is only provided pursuant to a written agreement, identified as such, and signed by the client and by or on behalf of Connaught Law.