Domestic Violence in Immigrant Communities: Breaking the Cycle of Abuse
According to CHOICES, a domestic violence shelter in Ohio, 3 women are killed each day by their spouse or boyfriend. Domestic violence is not exclusive to any particular gender, race, class or immigrant category. However, many immigrants are especially vulnerable and choose to suffer abuse in silence in fear of losing their immigration status. In addition to this, victims in immigrant communities do not seek help because of cultural beliefs or bias, fear of the police, backlash from family or friends, limited resources, or lack of knowledge of options.
Some common tactics used by abusers to intimidate and oppress their victims are:
* Mental or physical abuse
* Isolation from friends and family
* Financial control and limited input in financial decisions
* Threat of deportation or withholding immigration assistance
* Threat of child custody or turning children against the abused parent
The silver lining in this dark issue is that there are options for abused spouses, children or parents of US Citizens and Legal Permanent Residents ( LPR or green card holders). US Immigration laws, such as Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), may provide relief for victims of abuse by allowing them to apply for legal status without their abuser.
This information is provided for informational purposes only and is not legal advice. If you or someone you know is an immigrant victim of domestic violence, you should contact an immigration attorney to discuss your options under US immigration laws.