Illegal immigrants who are domestic violence victims are too scared to speak up in case they are deported, says the Mayor of London.

People who speak up about their abuse end up becoming criminals because they do not have legal status to live in the UK.

Now Sadiq Khan and his victim support team are urging the government to protect sufferers and do more to help them.

London’s Victims’ Commissioner, Claire Waxman has been working with victims of serious crime to make sure they are getting the help they need.

She says many women who have been directly affected by domestic abuse have experienced barriers to support as a result of their immigration status.

Now Ms Waxman and the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan have written to the Home Secretary Sajid Javid calling on him protect victims of serious violence who are at risk because of their immigration status.

Ms Waxman said: “Both the Mayor and I are clear that all victims of abuse must have full confidence to report crime and their abusers to ensure justice is done, no matter what their status might be.

“My primary focus as London’s first ever Victims’ Commissioner has been to champion and defend the interests of victims, to ensure their voices are heard and I am committed to doing everything I can to help them get access to a transparent, fair and inclusive criminal justice system.”

Ms Waxman said one woman she met arrived in the UK on a spousal visa and began experiencing domestic violence, but her husband said if she told the police she would be deported.

When she eventually contacted the police, they told her she had no rights, and she became the offender in an immigration case and not the victim in a domestic abuse case.

Ms Waxman said: “Sadly, this is not an isolated case with a number of migrant women never reporting episodes of violence in London due to a fear of deportation.

“I have put forward a series of measures the government should implement immediately so that no victim ever fears having to come forward and they know they will have proper access to support and justice.”

The recommendations put forward in the letter include calling for legal aid for immigration cases to ensure those with insecure status can access advice and support and to make sure victims of violence to be entitled to financial support and accommodation.