Tuesday, 15 June 2010

two women

so. this morning at group. among the women.

one is an 'overstayer', ie she came to the uk on a visa which has now expired. she spends her life in fear of a knock on the door. her husband knows full well he has ultimate control - he doesn't even have to beat her, not necessary - he simply doesn't give her food, or money. when she is forced to ask - then he beats her. social services don't have to help her, only her children. so he provides adequate stuff for the children. social services, when asked to pay for accommodation for mum and children, refuse, and offer either to remove the children or fly mum with or without her children, to her country of origin. this woman can't tear herself away from that horrible programme on sky, UK Border Force or whatever it's called, the programme all about the knocks on the doors and how brutally effective our immigration system can be.

another woman is a UK citizen, and originally from another country. her ex-partner beat her badly, she pressed charges and he is now in jail for a couple of months. this woman doesn't feel confident enough to make phonecalls, and she asks me to call the Border Agency Reporting Centre to find out what will happen to him when he finishes his sentence. she wants to report that he is in the country illegally, and she has tried to do so before, during the months of court hearings when she received threats from him that he would kill her and her family. the border agency tell me to call the jail. the jail need to see my letterhead. i am glad to give up for the day, feeling queasy in this advocacy role. the border agency man suggests that there is no reason why he would be intercepted by immigration on his release from jail; a failed asylum seeker would be removed, but this man has no legal status; he will be treated like any other person at the end of their sentence, the jail and immigration are not connected. this woman feels suicidal at the idea of her ex-partner being released and coming straight round to her house as he's always said he would.

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