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Denmark: Proposed Law to Give Relief to Alien Victims of Domestic Violence

(Feb. 12, 2013) <?Denmark’s Ministry of Justice has recently proposed an amendment to the Danish Aliens Act that would allow foreigners in Denmark who are victims of domestic abuse and who leave the abusive relationship not to be automatically deported. Under the current law, such persons, granted residency on the basis of their relationship with a Denmark-based partner, can apply to remain in the country when they leave the relationship if they have lived in Denmark with the abusive person for more than two years. Otherwise, they are subject to deportation. This rule is said to have often led to victims remaining in abusive relationships in order to avoid being deported. (Law Gives Support to Foreign Domestic Abuse Victims,COPENHAGEN POST (Feb. 1, 2013); Udlændingeloven [Aliens Act], Law No. 984 of Oct. 2, 2012.)

Under the proposed amendment, which is modeled on a Norwegian measure, if an alien or an alien’s child is the victim of domestic violence, the victim will not face automatic deportation if she or he leaves the relationship before the two-year period needed to establish residency. However, the Danish Minister of Justice, Morten Bødskov, stressed, the victims will “have to demonstrate a will and ability to integrate into Danish society in order to be allowed to remain in the country.” (Id.; Press Release, Ministry of Justice, Bedre Vilkår for Voldsramte Udlændinge [Better Conditions for Battered Aliens], (Jan. 30, 2013); Bill on Amending the Aliens Act (Better Protection of Victims of Trafficking and the Right to Continue to Stay for Reunited Battered Spouse) [text of the proposal in Danish], RETSINFORMATION.DK (Jan. 30, 2013).)