Institutional Solidarity in The Netherlands: Examining the Role of Dutch Policies in Women with Migration Backgrounds’ Decisions to Leave a Violent Relationship

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In The Netherlands, women who experience domestic violence can rely on public policies
that aim to support them, such as shelters. Drawing on the lived experiences, through 10 interviews
and observations, of women with different cultural backgrounds and nationalities staying in a shelter,
and on 37 interviews with social workers working with these women, we observed that this support
falls short for them. We argue that immigration rules, together with policies on domestic violence
and housing, (unintentionally) often work in tandem with violent partners to prevent women with
migration backgrounds from leaving violent relationships. The paper draws on a perspective of
institutional considerations of solidarity to unpack the relations between domestic violence, cultural
constraints, and public policies but looks also at the positive experiences of women of migrant
backgrounds with these Dutch policies. This research indicates that there is a lack of institutional
solidarity towards women, especially those arriving as marriage migrants, who have experienced
domestic violence. In exploring the intersections of domestic violence and often exclusionary state
policies, the paper reflects on how The Netherlands can provide more support to those women and
how intersectional justice and solidarity might be expressed.
Original languageEnglish
Issue number243
Publication statusPublished - 17 Nov 2023


  • Domestic Violence
  • Marriage Migration
  • Women

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