Nasrin is from Iran. When she was 21, she came under pressure from her family to marry. She did not want to marry, preferring to pursue a career, but felt she had no choice – women do not have many options in Iran. Nasrin’s husband was violent to her from the very beginning. He would beat her up every day, causing serious injuries – on one occasion he broke her arm, on another occasion he pushed her down the stairs and broke her ankle. He also raped her many times. Nasrin was not allowed to work, to leave the house alone, or to have any contact with her family and friends. When Nasrin’s son Mojtaba was born two years later, Nasrin’s husband was violent to him as well. Nasrin endured this treatment for a long time, because she hoped her husband would change.

Nasrin tried to get help from the police. She went to the police station to file a complaint. She was told that she was not allowed to file a complaint without her husband being present. In Iran a woman’s husband is her legal guardian, and she cannot do anything without his permission. Domestic violence is not even illegal, and it is almost impossible for a woman to obtain a divorce. Nasrin tried to go back to her own family, but they were powerless to protect her.

After enduring 5 years of relentless abuse, Nasrin came to the UK with her son to visit her sister. While in the UK she heard that her husband had accused her of adultery and child kidnapping, and that the court had issued a summons against her. If she went back to Iran, Nasrin faced not only the violence of her husband, but losing her son as custody would be awarded to the father. She claimed asylum.

Nasrin’s asylum application was refused. The Home Office said that if her husband had really been abusive, she would not have waited for five years to leave him. With the help of GMIAU Nasrin’s appeal was successful. We represented her in court, and helped her to obtain the expert evidence about the Iranian legal system which was necessary to show that she could not get protection from the police, and expert evidence to show that victims of domestic violence do put up with years of abuse before leaving. Nasrin and Mojtaba now have refugee status and will be able to stay in the UK, although it will take them a long time to recover from their experiences.