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Domestic Violence Resources for Immigrants in the U.S

Foto de Karolina Grabowska en Pexels

In order to make the best resources for any situation available, it is important to establish a comprehensive definition of what domestic violence is.

According to the United Nations, domestic violence is, “A pattern of behavior in any relationship that is used to gain or maintain power and control over an intimate partner. Abuse is physical, sexual, emotional, economic or psychological actions or threats of actions that influence another person. This includes any behaviors that frighten, intimidate, terrorize, manipulate, hurt, humiliate, blame, injure, or wound someone.”

Given this definition, resources for immigrants who are experiencing domestic violence should be explored.

Although the rates of domestic violence across the U.S are relatively the same, the ways that immigrants experience domestic violence is different than that of citizens. According to the National Domestic Violence Hotline, there are six different tactics that are commonly used by abusers to maintain power and control over immigrants:

  1. Isolation

Isolation is when an abuser attempts to isolate the victim by limiting communication outside of the relationship. In relationships where the victim is an immigrant, this can also look like prevention from learning English, or being cut off from those who have the same cultural background as the victim.

1. Intimidation

Intimidation is the act of destroying possessions or harming the victim, in order to make them afraid to leave the relationship. In situations where the victim is an immigrant, this can often look like shredding legal documents, passports, visas, or drivers licenses.

2. Threats

In situations where the victim is an immigrant, threats of revoking of petitions for legal status or threats of deportation are very common. While this is often threatened to the victim, it can also be directed towards the victim's family or friends. Threats are used to provoke feelings of danger and make the victim feel unsafe.

3. Manipulation Regarding Citizenship or Residency

Given the definition and examples of threats, manipulation regarding citizenship or residency is the abuser following through on claims of withdrawing important legal paperwork. This is a tactic used to make the victim feel trapped, and make them afraid to report the abuse in fear of not being granted legal status.

4. Financial Abuse

Financial abuse refers to withholding money in order to force dependency on the abuser in the relationship. In cases where the victim is an immigrant, this may look like attempting to get one fired in order to make the victim think that they will lose their visa, or falsely reporting to the victim’s place of employment that they are undocumented, or revealing other aspects of their immigration status.

5. Leveraging Children

Leveraging children is a tactic used by abusers in a relationship where the victim is an immigrant. Abusers will often make threats to have law enforcement notified to take away their children in order to make the victim afraid of contacting law enforcement about the abuse, especially if the victim is unfamiliar with U.S legal proceedings.

Given these tactics used by abusers in situations where the victim is an immigrant, there is a plethora of resources available in order for immigrant victims to get help and get out of the abusive situation that they are in. The list of resources and their contact information will be listed below.

The National Domestic Violence Hotline is available 24/7 and is completely confidential. They provide services such as educational resources, legal assistance, health resources, and the creation of a personalized safety plan.

Esperanza United is a Latinx advocacy organization that provides services such as COVID-19 resources, immigrant rights resources, resources for youth, and family advocacy assistance.

Futures Without Violence is an advocacy coalition that provides services such as support for youth living in abusive households, resources for experiencing abuse in the workplace, resources for men, and education and services related to health and wellness.

Where you can find these resources:

National Domestic Violence Hotline

24/7 Hotline Call: +1 (800) 799-7233

Textline: “START” to 88788

Administrative Line: (737) 225-3150

Esperanza United

24/7 Minnesota Hotline: (651) 772-1611

Minnesota Office: (651) 646-5553

National Hotline: +1 (800) 799-7233

Futures Without Violence

San Francisco Office: (415) 678-5500

Washington D.C Office: (202) 595-7382

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