Over half of the country’s 45 police forces admit to having handed over rape and domestic violence victims to immigration officials, figures indicate.
What’s worse is that the victims are then being arrested and treated as criminals due to their immigration statuses.
These incidents instill fear among immigrants. As a result, they may not report crime if they are victims or witnesses.
According to Metro, many of these victims now await deportation at Yarl's Wood Detention Center in Bedfordshire.
In one case, a woman contacted the police to report her partner for allegedly beating her. But instead of getting the help she needed, she was arrested because of her immigration status.
After the numbers were revealed and UK police faced criticism, a Home Office spokesman told reporters that victims are never ignored.
“When individuals are found to have no basis in the UK, we carefully consider the details of the case before taking an enforcement action,” he said.
Still, Pragna Patel, who’s with Southall Black Sisters, an advice, advocacy, and resource center for minority women, said that the police are treating victims as criminals by referring them to immigration officials. That, she added, conflicts with the country’s promise to support and protect all women from violence.
“Since 2014, we’ve seen a steady rise in cases where the police have arrested women or reported women to the Home Office as potential illegals rather than deal with their reports of violence and rape,” she said.
With officials appearing to ignore the criticism, this problem may become more widespread if not enough Britons organize and demand change.
In order to, perhaps, mitigate this crisis, UK residents might want to consider criticizing government and law enforcement officials who break their promises to protect women more strongly.
If officials across the globe are serious about protecting women from violence, they must put that promise first. Treating victims as criminals for being immigrants sends a troubling message to attackers that targeting women is OK, so long as they are foreigners.
Banner/Thumbnail Credits: Reuters