Women's Refuge decries visa rule

Women's Refuge chief executive Heather Henare
Women's Refuge chief executive Heather Henare

A teenage immigrant who stood up to domestic violence "should be treated like a hero", not kicked out of the country, according to the boss of Women's Refuge.

The organisation's chief executive, Heather Henare, is welcoming a planned Government review of immigration policies that she said gave men a "fantastic weapon" to hide their violence.

“There is a definite loophole around this kind of situation," she said.

“We welcome consultation in the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment's review process around section 4.5 of the Immigration Operational Manual."

Last week, a boy, who would be known only as "Nick", told the Taranaki Daily News he wished he never called police about his violent father.

Blowing the whistle on domestic violence has meant his family effectively became illegal immigrants because they had no independent visa status.

Nick's father was jailed and then deported, and with no visas, the family may also be kicked out of New Zealand by early next year.

Ms Henare said no young person should ever be silenced by domestic violence.

“Men who are abusive and have control over a visa requirement, are provided by law with a fantastic weapon to keep their behaviour undetected from the outside world.

“In this case it was the brave actions of a great young man that helped to save his mother.

"It is terrible that this has turned into him regretting his actions.

“He should be treated like a hero for speaking out.”

Immigration Minister Nathan Guy revealed last week the Government would soon be reviewing the law.

The ministry would consult various community groups, including the Taranaki Community Law Trust, which had written to him about the matter, he said.

Taranaki Daily News