Law must do more to help ‘outcast wives’
February 27, 2017 3 comments
The law must be amended to better help “outcast wives”, a London charity insists.
Women from Asia can be exploited and abandoned in the UK by husbands who merely use an arranged marriage agreement to secure a dowry payment. Once they have it, they simply leave their “outcast wives” stranded here with very few legal options.
According to Southall Black Sisters (SBS), such women find it extremely difficult to secure a divorce in their home country and British visa entry rules can make legal help next to impossible to find. The SBS is a charity which supports ethnic minority women who are the victims of violence and abuse.
Radhika Handa is a barrister who works with the SBS. She said the group wanted “better harmonisation of law so a woman granted a divorce in one country can have it recognised in another”. There should also be better co-ordination between nations on this matter so “if a woman is denied a right by sending her to another country, she is not stuck in international limbo”.
Speaking to the BBC, the SBS director Pragna Patel said the group was “only beginning to scratch the surface of the problem”. Asian women brought to the UK can be victims of “physical, sexual, financial, emotional abuse” before they are eventually discarded by their husbands. Patel explained that for some of these women, the dowry demands continue even after they marry and “ultimately when they cannot meet the demands they are abandoned”.
Last year, a 21 year-old man in India went on the run from the police after his wife discovered he had married four times previously. Before this revelation, the man had received a substantial dowry from the bride’s family.
Photo by James Chew via Flickr under a Creative Commons licence.
February 27, 2017
Categories: Family Law