Fighting Back: Filing Suit Under VAWA
VAWA (the Violence Against Women Act) is legislation which was enacted in 1994 by the United States government for protection of women from sexual assault and domestic violence. If you want to file a suit under VAWA, you will need to fill out and submit the I-360 form for gaining relief. You will also need to submit pieces of evidence to show that you meet the VAWA requirements. The I-360 petition for abused spouses is of no value if you do not have evidence. If you seek to obtain proper care and relief, VAWA requires evidence. VAWA also helps in determining the steps that can be taken by the implementation.
Evidence to be included with the I-360:
In addition to the form I-360, you also need to include the following:
- Personal declaration: The first set of evidence includes a detailed declaration of your relationship with the abuser and other details for VAWA eligibility. The declaration needs to include all the details about how you and the abuser met and how your relationship with that person developed. It should also include details like when you met the abuser and your reason behind marrying that person, if you are married. Your personal declaration further needs to include types of abuse you suffered, and when each abuse occurred. To gain full support from VAWA, try to include as many details as you can. Project your good moral character with details such as your regular attendance at temple or church, you support your family, you take part in community activities and so forth.
- Police Clearance Certificate and proof of abuser’s status: Submitting police clearance records is of prime importance. You must submit police clearance records from places you have lived in for at least six months in the past three years. You can get your clearance record by visiting the police stations where you have lived and asking for them. You can tell them that it is for the process of immigration. Police clearance makes sure that you have not been convicted of any serious crime. If you have been convicted for any crime during the past three years, you might be barred from qualifying under VAWA regulations. If your abuser is a U.S. citizen, you need to submit a copy of the abuser’s birth certificate, passport or other legal documents. You can obtain a copy of the abuser’s birth certificate from the County Recorder where the abuser was born. If the abuser is a green card holder, you need to submit a copy of the abuser’s green card or other immigration documents. If you do not have any of the documents regarding the abuser, you can file a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request with the United States government.
- Proof of your abuse: This is a crucial part of your efforts. It is very important to provide VAWA with as much evidence as possible regarding your abuse. Evidence like police reports or other restraining orders against the abuser will work. If the abuser was arrested for abusing you physically, you can submit those records. If you want to strengthen your case, you can opt for a medical checkup and submit the doctor’s report regarding your abuse.
You need to remember that you do not need to show physical abuse for qualifying under VAWA. Psychological or emotional abuse is enough to build your case. In case of psychological abuse, you can submit reports if you have seen a psychologist. You can also submit declarations from your family and friends regarding your abuse.