23 April, 2024

A way out of abuse

What happens when you are stuck in an abusive relationship, being threatened with violence against yourself and your family if you try to leave, so someone can obtain permanent residency?

A way out of abuse - feature photo

A local resident, who for legal reasons cannot share their story publicly yet, reached out to The Sentinel to tell of their experience of domestic violence and raise awareness about an issue that isn’t often discussed when talking about domestic violence, namely being used and abused to obtain permanent residency.

The female of Indian origin, began experiencing domestic violence after filing an application to sponsor her partner, being threatened and abused if she withdrew the sponsorship.

The police lodged a Domestic Violence Order against him during the visa processing, but he was still granted residency, despite this.

According to the Department of Home Affairs (DoHA), a partner sponsorship can be withdrawn at any time before a decision is made on a visa application, and any information provided by the sponsor, including allegations of domestic and family violence, as part of the assessment of the visa application.

An applicant may still be eligible for the permanent Partner Visa in some circumstances, for example, where there are children of the relationship.

A spokesperson for the Department of Home Affairs has said they do not encourage any visa applicants, holders or sponsors to stay in violent or abusive relationships, under any circumstances.

“In recognition of the particular vulnerability of temporary visa holders, the department has established a specialist Domestic and Family Violence Support team”, the spokesperson said.

“Our dedicated Visa Support Officers assist temporary visa holders who are experiencing domestic and family violence in Australia regarding their visa status and other immigration matters.”

According to the spokesperson, the department carefully considers each application and investigates allegations of misconduct very seriously.

“The Australian Government takes its role of protecting the Australian community from risk of harm by non-citizens very seriously”, the spokesperson said.

“It is expected all non-citizens are lawabiding and continue to satisfy the requirements set out in the Migration Act 1958 (the Act), including identity, security, health, and character requirements.

“The department carefully considers the merits of each application on a case by case basis, taking into account all information available to the delegate at the time of decision and the applicants’ individual circumstances.

“The department takes allegations of fraud in the Partner visa program very seriously and investigates any misconduct thoroughly.

“Measures are in place to rigorously assess every Partner visa application to ensure it is not contrived for the purpose of obtaining a migration outcome.”

Comprehensive information on the Department’s role in supporting clients experiencing domestic and family violence can be found at

Information on how to withdraw sponsorship is available on the Department’s website at

All clients whose health and safety is at risk, are encouraged to call 000 immediately and to access crisis and ongoing support through the following services:

1800 RESPECT (1800 737 732) – National domestic, family and sexual violence counselling service

Lifeline (13 11 14) – 24 hour crisis support and suicide prevention services.

Other links: departmental-forms/ online-forms/border-watch


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