Domestic violence

Roks calls for better protection for foreign wives

An increasing number of women, who have moved to Sweden because they are in a relationship with a Swedish man, seek help after being assaulted or sexually abused. In 2009, 552 such women approached women's shelters after their partner had violently abused them. That can be compared to 515 women who did so the year before.

The national organisation of women's shelters in Sweden, Roks, calls for a number of changes to improve the situation for these women.

Among others, Roks wants to make it easier for women who are abused by their Swedish partners to be allowed to stay in the country, even though the relationship has not lasted the stipulated 2 years. Roks would also like to make it possible for the Migration Board to inform the women if the men have earlier been convicted of a crime.

But the Minister for Migration Tobias Billström tells TT that EU law prevents the Migration Board from making routine checks on the men's criminal record, but he points out that the women have a right to ask for the information themselves and that way find out about the men's background.

In terms of the 2-year-rule, Billström says it helps preventing fake marriages.

If the man has been abusive within these two years, the woman still has a chance to get a residence permit, but according to Roks, the burden of proof is extreme. Among others, the residence permit is only given if it can be proven that there has been repeated violent abuse or if the abuse was particularly violent, and that the relationship has been ended as a result of this abuse.