The Protection and Rights of Black and Minority Ethnic Women Experiencing Domestic Violence in Northern Ireland

Monica McWilliams, Priyamvada Yarnell

Research output: Book/ReportCommissioned reportpeer-review


This report examines the support sought by and provided to Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) women, including immigrant women, in the context of domestic violence in Northern Ireland. It was undertaken as a scoping study and forms part of a submission to the UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW).Northern Ireland has experienced an increase in migration, particularly from the European Economic Area with the most recent census showing an increase in the ‘non-national’ population over the past ten years - from 1.8% (2001) to 4.5% (2011). This figure, although increasing, is an under-representation of the proportion of those residing in Northern Ireland who form part of the BME population as it does not include those who hold British or Irish nationality.The findings reveal the challenges faced by BME women such as isolation, language barriers, unfamiliarity with laws and services, and institutional racism. These factors act as barriers in the help-seeking process and increase women’s vulnerability to domestic violence. Some of the most compelling findings are the ways in which immigration law and policy and the benefits system fail to address the needs of immigrant women who experience domestic violence in Northern Ireland. The report highlights the failings in terms of the UK’s human rights obligations and makes a number of recommendations to CEDAW as part of its periodic examination in July 2013. Following its publication, the CEDAW Committee requested the UK government to address, in particular, the report’s findings in relation to the application of the ‘domestic violence’ rule.
Original languageEnglish
PublisherNorthern Ireland Council for Ethnic Minorities
Number of pages31
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 1 Jul 2013


  • Domestic violence
  • ethnic minorities
  • immigrants
  • Northern Ireland


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