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Financial Support

Volume 405: debated on Monday 12 May 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions pursuant to his answer of 20 March 2002, Official Report, column 921W, on financial support, what the average length of time to grant indefinite leave to remain on the basis of the domestic violence concession was in the last 12 months for which figures are available; and what financial support is available during that time to (a) women who are pregnant or with one or more children and (b) single women for (i) subsistence and (ii) housing costs, including funding for places at refuges for victims of domestic violence. [110983]

The Home Office is responsible for considering applications for indefinite leave to remain from victims of domestic violence, using the special provisions under the Immigration Rules. Information on the average length of time taken to decide on these applications is not available.DWP benefits are not available to people in these circumstances until the Home Office is satisfied that a marriage has broken down due to domestic violence, and the victim is given indefinite leave to remain in the United Kingdom. To allow access earlier would undermine the general principle that those who are subject to immigration control have no access to the benefits system.However, local authorities may be able to provide financial support to people with children under Section 17 of the Children Act 1989. Or where someone can prove that they are destitute and have no other means of support, help may be available through Section 21 of the National Assistance Act.