The Immigrant Council of Ireland (ICI) is calling for laws to protect immigrants living here who find themselves in violent relationships. Without the full protection of the law, the Council believes victims are reluctant to come forward for fear of being deported.
The Oireachtas Justice Committee is now being asked to examine the possibility of recognising domestic violence in our immigration laws.
The ICI says people are being trapped in violent relationships because of a failure to offer protection to domestic abuse victims.
ICI spokesman Brian Killoran said victims whose status is dependent on a spouse are living in fear and are not coming forward because of beliefs it could impact on their ability to remain in the country.
"In recent years our frontline services assisted in 54 cases where domestic violence was a factor, eight of these cases were in 2013, through our work we are also aware of many other incidents where victims are being supported by others."
The ICI and eight other groups have asked the Oireachtas Justice Committee for domestic violence to be formally recognised in immigration laws, for reform of current administrative practices, and greater provision of safe emergency accommodation and welfare benefits.
The ICI also asked that the government sign and ratify the Council of Europe Convention on combating and preventing violence against women and domestic violence as a matter of urgency.
Mr. Killoran says victims also need to be able to avail of the State support services.