This pledge campaign is organised by Wave and PICUM
Women’s rights are human rights. Every woman who has experienced violence should be able to access protection, support and services.
Protection and safety come first. No woman should be turned away from a shelter because she lacks the valid paperwork. All women should be able to approach the justice system for help, with confidence and without fear.
Give them a way out, a way forward. Migration laws and policies often create dependency and increase women’s risk of violence. Eradicating violence against women is not just about protection and support, it is also about ensuring their autonomy and agency.
Solidarity against discrimination. Laws, policies and practices that limit migrant women’s access to services are discriminatory. This violates feminist values, and reflect institutionalised forms of discrimination that we must all reject.
Why is this important?
Violence against women remains pervasive in Europe.
Migrant women who face violence and abuse frequently cannot report it, particularly if they are undocumented.
Due to laws, the immigration status of many migrant women depends on a spouse or employer. Even in cases of abuse, leaving this relationship means becoming an undocumented migrant.
Undocumented migrants risk arrest if they report abuse and violence to the police.
Perpetrators use this situation to their advantage, to intimidate, threaten and control.
With nowhere to turn, migrant women with precarious status are enduring abuse in silence.
Ensuring justice and services
Despite international human rights and women’s rights standards that guarantee access to protection and services for all, this is often not the reality for survivors of violence who are undocumented.
They are often deemed as ‘illegal’ and therefore undeserving of rights. This leaves them isolated and without access to justice and protection.
For undocumented migrant women, reaching out for help can mean detention and deportation, separation from their children, the loss of their livelihood and their dignity.
They are often turned away from women’s shelters which are fearful of checks by the immigration authorities and face a lack of funding and resources.
In the meantime, perpetrators of violence go unpunished.
To find out more about the realities of undocumented women in Europe, watch this web documentary.