Immigration Bill — Report (1st Day) (Continued)

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 9:45 pm on 1st April 2014.

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Photo of Baroness Hamwee Baroness Hamwee Liberal Democrat 9:45 pm, 1st April 2014

My Lords, I, too, found the passage that the noble Baroness has just quoted and I realised that there was no reference in it to any exercise of discretion. There is a reflection period of 45 days for victims of human trafficking—at any rate, for those who go through the national referral mechanism. I do not think that that is long enough but that is another matter. I was glad to see that a 90-day period is suggested here. The Government, rightly, recognise problems of domestic violence, but can the Minister tell your Lordships whether there is any scope for exploring some sort of discretion to enable women—as it mostly would be, many of them women with children—to have a period in which to recover? They will not do that in 90 days, although I would not argue for more when we are exploring this, but they need a period in which to consider where next to try to take their lives and, quite often, their children. That would be the humane and proper thing for a civilised society to do. This is not suggesting that, having suffered domestic violence, there is some sort of instant entry to indefinite leave. It is just a temporary pause: an opportunity to consider what to do and where to go next.