Bushra Ali Solicitors, with offices in Leicester and Wrexham, have launched a powerful new project focussing on domestic abuse called `Be the Change – Empowering You’.
Speaking about the project Bushra Ali, Founder and Director of Bushra Ali Solicitors, said, “The intended beneficiaries of this project are women from various continents including Asia and Africa, who enter the UK as spouses or partners of British nationals and who are then subjected to domestic abuse as a result of which the marriage or relationship breaks down.
“These individuals face a number of immigration issues once their marriage or relationship breaks down. They can no longer remain in the UK on their current visas and are faced with either having to return `back home to their country’ fearing being the cause of bringing immense shame upon their families, remain in the abusive household or take the plunge to make an application seeking an indefinite right to stay in the UK as victims of domestic abuse with the fear of not being supported or believed.
“Although this area of work is still publically funded not enough solicitors offer this work under public funding as it is so poorly paid. Individuals are still experiencing difficulty in being able to access legal services with firms having long waiting lists or having exhausted funding. There are also `desert islands’ around England and Wales where legal advice, let alone publically funded advice, is simply not accessible.”
Bushra has over 15 years’ experience representing individuals subjected to domestic abuse who are also facing immigration problems. Having stepped away from publically funded work nearly 10 years ago, Bushra has not turned her back on supporting vulnerable groups of individuals. ‘Be the Change – Empowering You’ allows individuals to be able to access legal representation to resolve their immigration matters where they have been victims of domestic abuse. There will be no costs to the individual as this project is offered entirely pro bono.
Adds Bushra, “’Be the Change – Empowering You’ will benefit from my expertise in representing individuals subjected to domestic abuse. Many will be individuals who are housed in refuge and are not employed and have no personal savings. Now, because of this project, they will be able to benefit from legal representation enabling them to gain support to resolve their immigration matters.
“At Bushra Ali Solicitors we are aware of those individuals that have managed to flee abusive households and seek help, but what we don’t know is how many individuals are trapped in abusive marriages and cannot leave those abusive marriages for fear of the implications for their immigration status and bringing shame upon their parents in the event they were to be sent `back home’. My vision for this project is that it will become known far and wide across the whole of England and Wales, empowering individuals who are trapped in abusive relationships to have confidence that they will be supported in resolving their immigration status.”
Initial service users will be referred from North Wales Race Equality Network, BAWSO, H.O.P.E. Training & Consultancy, Shama Womens Centre and Zinthiya Trust.
Speaking about the project Meena Kumari, Trainer and Founder of H.O.P.E. Training & Consultancy said, “The ‘Be the Change – Empowering You’ project is so needed for the women in the communities we serve. Often these women are destitute and their immigration status is used as a form of control. I hope this project is seen as great initiative and helps a great number of women”. Adds Zinthiya Ganeshpanchan FRSA, Founder of the Zinthiya Trust, “Women fleeing abuse, in particular those with no recourse to public funding, are at the risk of becoming destitute due to the lack of support including access to legal aid. This project will, therefore, be of immense value to these women and help them move out of their abusive relationships”.