In Denmark, both physical, psychological and social violence is illegal.
Some special rules therefore apply to you if you want to divorce due to violence. First, you must be able to prove that the violence took place. It is therefore crucial that you report the violence to the police, go to the emergency room and collect documentation of the violence.
Remember that you should not ignore the violence for the sake of rumours, your spouse, the fear of losing your residence permit or the possibility of finding a new husband. The road to an independent life in Denmark starts with going against the silence. If you have children, you must also report the violence to the social authorities.
The psychological and social violence can be difficult to prove. This is because it is a crime that does not immediately leave visible traces on your body. In addition, psychological and social violence is often a crime that takes place within the four walls of the home.
How do you prove the violence?
The immigration advisory service recommends that you keep a diary of the episodes of violence so that you can prove them. You should also save any evidence you have. This can be text messages, recordings with sound and reports to the police. They can prove that you are exposed to violence.
In the diary, you must describe the specific episodes in detail. This means that you must enter the date and time. At the same time, you must write what your husband or his allies said and/or did when you were subjected to violence.
Violence doesn’t just have to come from your husband. You may easily have one, two or more who are violent towards you. Violence – where several people join together to practice it – most often occurs among people with roots in the Middle Eastern countries, and where Islam is the central religion. This stands in contrast to the violence that typically ethnic Danish men perpetrate. Here, the family rarely supports the violence.
What is physical, psychological and social violence?
Physical violence is often when your husband does something to you so that you feel physical harm or pain. Physical violence will typically leave visible marks on your body. It will often be punches, slaps, kicks, forced sex and attempts to suffocate you.
Your husband may also use tools when he is violent. It may be that he hits with various objects in the home – but it may also be that he uses knives, for example.
Physical violence doesn’t have to leave you bruised. Physical violence can also be anything from you being isolated and locked up to your husband denying you sleep and food.
Psychological violence is the most widespread form of violence in Denmark. It is often overlooked, even though it is actually the most damaging form of violence.
You can recognize psychological violence by the fact that it is often about your personality and actions. The violence can give you a feeling of being constantly belittled, bullied, humiliated, violated, manipulated, dominated and threatened by your husband or his allies. It can also be stalking, persecution and the like. If you experience stalking and persecution, you have the option of applying for a restraining order. This means that the police can ban the person from stalking, stalking and generally contacting you.
Before we can talk about psychological violence, the violence must take place more than once. This often means that the violence leaves a mark on your self-esteem and self-confidence.
Threats feature heavily in this type of violence. One of the most used threats is that you will be sent back to your home country if you disobey your husband. It is therefore often foreign women who live with this threat. It can also be life-threatening. Both on your own life and that of your children. It could also be that your husband threatens to take his own life if you don’t do as he says.
Social violence can be very similar to psychological violence. The boundary between the two forms of violence is therefore not always clear. However, you can often recognize the social violence when your husband prevents you from working, getting lessons in Danish and going alone into town to shop. Often he or one of his allies must accompany him. A sign of social violence is also if, for example, you want to go to the doctor, and a member of the family demands to go with you as an interpreter.
What can you do to keep your temporary residence permit?
You must acknowledge, identify and report the violence. This will increase your chance of a residence permit.
Acknowledge means that you are aware that you are exposed to violence. Identifying means that you describe the violence to which you are exposed. Report is to tell and describe to the police that you have been subjected to violence.
The Danish Immigration Service will reassess your temporary residence permit if you are divorced from your husband, who has brought you to Denmark as a family. If you want to divorce – or have been divorced – because your husband has committed violence against you, it is important that you obtain documentation of the violence. It is of decisive importance for your residence permit.
Documentation can be documents from the emergency department and papers showing that you have reported a situation of violence. The evidence and documents are important when the Danish Immigration Service has to assess whether your residence permit can continue or whether it should be taken away from you.
It is therefore very important that you:
- Reports the episodes of violence.
- That you get a copy of the reviews. It is important because the documentation will give you a greater chance of keeping the residence permit according to Section 9 c, subsection of the Immigration Act. 1.
It often takes 6-12 months before the Danish Immigration Service has found out whether you can keep your temporary residence permit. During the processing of your case, you have all your rights. This means that, for example, you must still work and receive medical care.