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Home / Special Collections / Immigrant Women and Sexual Violence

Special Collection: Immigrant Women and Sexual Violence

Table of Contents:

Introduction | Back to top

This collection addresses some of the problems faced by immigrant women survivors of sexual violence in the United States. Additionally, this collection provides resources and tools for immigrant women and service providers who assist them, such as advocates, lawyers, and medical professionals. The annotated bibliography includes resources on many immigrant communities to highlight strategies that may be successful in stopping violence against immigrant women.

The immigrant population in the U.S. is diverse, and the barriers and challenges faced by immigrant women who experience sexual violence vary. This special collection is not comprehensive, and the documents included in this collection do not cover all immigrant communities. Rather, this collection highlights the common experiences of immigrant women who are victims of sexual violence, the legal protections and public benefits available, and practices and suggestions for increasing the effectiveness of services provided to immigrant women. This collection is also limited to documents that are freely available online.

We intend to update this special collection regularly and add new documents as they become available. We welcome your comments, suggestions, and information about documents for this special collection. Please submit your comments via VAWnet’s online contact form.

This collection was developed by the National Sexual Violence Resource Center (March 2009), updated by ASISTA (October 2013), and complements the parallel collection, Immigrant Women and Domestic Violence.

Immigrant women in the United States | Back to top

This section provides background information on women who immigrate to the United States and what is unique about their experience as women. Additionally, it provides documents that highlight sexual violence against women globally.

  • Immigrant Women in the United States | HTML HTML
    by Jeanne Batalova for the Migration Policy Institute (December 2009)
    This Spotlight provides statistics on immigrant women in the United States. The 18.9 million immigrant women in the United States in 2008 made up 12 percent of all women in the country.
    + View Summary
  • Global and regional estimates of violence against women: Prevalence and health effects of intimate partner violence and non-partner sexual violence | PDF PDF (60 p.)
    by the World Health Organization (2013)
    The report presents the first global systematic review of scientific data on the prevalence of two forms of violence against women: violence by an intimate partner (intimate partner violence) and sexual violence by someone other than a partner (non-partner sexual violence). It shows, for the first time, global and regional estimates of the prevalence of these two forms of violence, using data from around the world.
    + View Summary
  • Violence against Women: The Situation | PDF PDF (2 p.)
    by UN Women (November 2011)
    This short fact sheet gives an overview of violence against women worldwide and explains the main problems women face globally.
    + View Summary
  • Handbook for National Action Plans on Violence Against Women | PDF PDF (79 p.)
    by UN Women (2012)
    This handbook outlines the international and regional legal and policy framework which mandates States to adopt and implement National Action Plans to address VAW, including a model framework for adoption.
    + View Summary
  • Immigrant Women in the United States: A Portrait of Demographic Diversity | PDF PDF (15 p.)
    by the American Immigration Law Foundation, Immigration Policy Center (2010)
    This document provides information on the 18.9 million immigrant women living in the United States in 2008.
    + View Summary

Sexual violence in immigrant communities | Back to top

Sexual violence can take many forms in various immigrant communities, including but not limited to sexual assault, forced marriage, and female genital mutilation. The following resources address some of the sexual violence issues facing diverse immigrant communities.

Sexual Assault
  • Dynamics of Sexual Assault and the Implications for Immigrant Women | PDF PDF (30 p.)
    by Jessica Mindlin, Leslye E. Orloff, Sameera Pochiraju, Amanda Baran, and Ericka Echavarria for The National Immigrant Women's Advocacy Project (2010)
    This chapter provides a general overview of sexual assault and its impact on immigrant victims. It also addresses the intersection of sexual assault, immigration, and cultural issues.
    + View Summary
  • Refugee and Asylum Seeking Women Affected by Rape or Sexual Violence: a Literature Review | PDF PDF (66 p.)
    by Refugee Council (February 2009)
    The review summarizes the learning from the Refugee Council Vulnerable Women’s Project and situates that learning within the wider context of what is known about rape and sexual violence.
    + View Summary
  • Sexual Violence Against Asian, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander Women | PDF PDF (4 p.)
    by the Asian & Pacific Islander Institute on Domestic Violence (Revised January 2011)
    This document describes specifically how sexual violence affects Asian, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander women.
    + View Summary
  • Power and Control Tactics used against Immigrant Women | PDF PDF (3 p.)
    by Futures Without Violence
    This document describes some of the tactics used to abuse immigrant women. These include emotional abuse, economic abuse, sexual abuse, using coercion and threat, intimidation, isolation, and blaming women for inciting violence.
    + View Summary
  • Immigrant Women Power and Control Wheel | PDF PDF (1 p.)
    by Futures Without Violence (n. d.)
    This wheel illustrates common tactics used by abusive intimate partners to control and intimidate their immigrant spouse.
    + View Summary
  • The Culture Wheel | PDF PDF (1 p.)
    by the Domestic Abuse Intervention Project
    The Culture Wheel is a visual representation of how cultural norms, values and institutions reinforce violence against women.
    + View Summary
  • Abuses Endured by a Woman During Her Life Cycle | PDF PDF (1 p.)
    by Asian & Pacific Islander Institute on Domestic Violence (2000)
    This document is an illustration describing the violence that may happen throughout the lives of Asian and Pacific Islander women during the life stages of infancy, childhood, adolescence, young adulthood, adulthood and later life.
    + View Summary
  • Sexual Violence Against Asian and Pacific Islander Women | PDF PDF (40 p.)
    by Firoza Chic Dabby for the Asian and Pacific Islandr Institute on Domestic Violence (January 2007)
    This training manual describes the different types of sexual violence perpetrated against Asian and Pacific Islander women. Skits and discussion questions are included to help advocates understand sexual violence in vulnerable populations.
    + View Summary
Sexual Violence in the Workplace
  • Creative Strategies for Outreaching and Working Effectively with Immigrant Survivors of Sexual Violence in the Workplace | PPT (99 p.)
    by William Tamayo (EEOC), and Giselle Hass for ASISTA and Futures without Violence (2013)
    In light of immigration enforcement and the economic climate, now more than ever, immigrant women are vulnerable to experiencing sexual violence in the workplace. Across the country, immigrant-working women with and without work authorization are subjected to adverse working conditions and victimization at alarming rates.
    + View Summary
  • Effectively Framing a U Visa Labor-Based Application | HTML HTML
    by Gail Pendleton and Eunice Cho for the Immigration Advocates Network (2013)
    Presenters discuss best practices in framing U cases arising in the workplace, including: framing the qualifying crime, obtaining helpful certifications, identifying and presenting substantial harm and inadmissibility waiver arguments; and organizing your application to achieve success.
    + View Summary

Webinar recording by Gail Pendleton, ASISTA and Eunice Cho, NELP (2013)
  • The U Visa: How Can It Protect Immigrant Workers? | PDF PDF (2 p.)
    by Rebecca Smith and Eunice Cho for National Employment Law Center(2012)
    This article explains how undocumented immigrant workers who are victims of crime can benefit from the U Visa. (English and Spanish)
    + View Summary
  • Cultivating Fear: The vulnerability of immigrant farmworkers in the US to sexual violence and sexual harassment | PDF PDF (95 p.)
    by Human Rights Watch (May 2012)
    This report discusses the experiences of immigrant farmworkers in the United States with a range of sexually violent behaviors. The report suggests that these experiences are common, reporting is limited, and the involvement of a victim advocate may increase reporting..
    + View Summary
  • Injustice on our Plates: Immigrant Women in the U.S. Food Industry | HTML HTML
    by Mary Bauer and Monica Ramirez for the Southern Poverty Law Center (November 2010)
    SPLC researchers interviewed approximately 150 women who are either currently undocumented or have spent time in the U.S. as undocumented immigrants. The women all have worked in the U.S. food industry in Arkansas, California, Florida, Iowa, New York or North Carolina.
    + View Summary
Female Genital Mutilation (FGM)
  • Female Genital Mutilation | HTML HTML
    by the World Health Organization (Updated February 2013)
    This fact sheet describes FGM and explains who is at risk for experiencing these procedures. The fact sheet also describes the international response to this problem.
    + View Summary
  • Female Genital Cutting Fact Sheet | PDF PDF (7 p.)
    by U.S. Department of Heath and Human Services, Offices on Women’s Health (2009)
    This fact sheet gives answers to frequently asked questions regarding female genital mutilation.
    + View Summary
  • Female Genital Mutilation in the U. S. Factsheet | PDF PDF (3 p.)
    by Equality Now (2011)
    This factsheet gives a brief overview of federal laws against FGM in the United States and also lists state laws against FGM.
    + View Summary
  • UNFPA-UNICEF Joint Programme on Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting: Accelerating Change | PDF PDF (64 p.)
    by UNFPA & UNICEF (2012)
    This report documents activities of the Joint Program in its fifth year of implementation in 15 African countries: Burkina Faso, Djibouti, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, The Gambia, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Kenya, Mali, Mauritania, Senegal, Somalia, Sudan and Uganda.
    + View Summary
  • Eliminating Female genital mutilation: An interagency statement | PDF PDF (47 p.)
    This joint Statement is a call to all States, international and national organizations, civil society and communities to uphold the rights of girls and women.
    + View Summary

Sexual violence during the process of immigration | Back to top

Women face many dangers en route to their destination countries, including sex trafficking, sexual assault in detention facilities, and sexual violence in refugee camps. The following resources discuss some of the many forms of sexual violence that immigrants and refugees may face during the immigration process.

Human Trafficking (July 2007) is a Special Collection which aims to illuminate different forms of, and perspectives on, human trafficking and to provide relevant resources to help guide more informed and critical advocacy, research, and thought.
  • Global Report on Trafficking in Persons | PDF PDF (102 p.)
    by United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (2012)
    Based on data gathered from 132 countries, this report offers a global assessment of the scope of human trafficking.
    + View Summary
  • Human Trafficking Power and Control Wheel | PDF PDF (1 p.)
    by the Polaris Project (2010)
    This tool shows the power and control tactics used against victims of human trafficking.
    + View Summary
  • Human Trafficking Assessment for Domestic Violence & Sexual Assault Programs | HTML HTML
    by Polaris Project (2011)
    This document contains questions that can be used to assess a client for potential signs that she/he has been a victim of human trafficking.
    + View Summary
  • Sample Questions for Identifying a Trafficked/Enslaved Person | PDF PDF (1 p.)
    by VIDA Legal Assistance (2011)
    This document contains sample questions pertaining to identifying a trafficked/enslaved person.
    + View Summary
  • Human Trafficking and Sexual Assault | PDF PDF ( p.)
    by Maria Jose Fletcher and Mercedes Lorduy for The National Immigrant Women's Advocacy Project (2013)
    This presentation describes human trafficking and the connection between sexual violence and trafficking.
    + View Summary
  • Trafficking in Persons Report | HTML HTML
    by United States Department of State (2013)
    Including information about 170 countries, this is the most comprehensive worldwide report on the efforts of governments to combat severe forms of trafficking in persons.
    + View Summary
  • The Exploitation of Trafficked Women | PDF PDF (100 p.)
    by Graeme R. Newman, Problem-Oriented Guides for Police Problem-Specific Guides Series No.38, Community Oriented Policing Services, U.S. Department of Justice (2006)
    This guidebook is designed for law enforcement officials working with victims of trafficking; the four stages of human trafficking are discussed and recommendations for the response to victims of trafficking are addressed.
    + View Summary
  • Victim Support Video for Law Enforcement Part 1 | HTML HTML [9:22]
    by the Department of Homeland Security Blue Campaign
    This 9-minute video is designed to explain to non-federal law enforcement officials the crime of human trafficking. In addition, the video describes both short term and long-term immigration relief (provided by the Department of Homeland Security) that might be available to victims of human trafficking.
    + View Summary
  • Victim Identification Pamphlet for NGOs, Faith-based and Community Groups and General Public | PDF PDF (2 p.)
    by Department of Homeland Security Blue Campaign
    This pamphlet helps organizations identify the signs of human trafficking and gives tips on what to do if you suspect someone is a victim of human trafficking.
    + View Summary
  • Trafficking: Considerations & Recommendations for Battered Women’s Advocates | PDF PDF (8 p.)
    by Firoza Chic Dabby for Asian and Pacific Islander Institute on Domestic Violence (2012)
    This technical assistance brief offers considerations and recommendations to advocates for battered women about serving trafficked women and children.
    + View Summary
  • Human Trafficking: Modern Enslavement of Immigrant Women in the United States | PDF PDF (4 p.)
    by Women's Rights Project (2007)
    This fact sheet is in a question and answer format. Some of the questions along with their answers are: What is human trafficking? What drives the trafficking industry? What judicial remedies are available to victims of trafficking?
    + View Summary
  • Ending Modern-Day Slavery: Using Research to Inform U.S. Anti-Human Trafficking Efforts | PDF PDF (7 p.)
    by Maureen Q. McGough for the National Institute of Justice (2013)
    This NIJ study examines the challenges facing the criminal justice system when combating human trafficking.
    + View Summary
Borders & Detention
  • Sexual Assault of Immigrants in Detention: Know Your Rights For Immigrants, Families, and Advocates e | PDF PDF (8 p.)
    by American Civil Liberties Union (2011)
    This document describes the types of behavior that are illegal and describes which types of conduct are legal in detention. There is also information about the rights of victims of sexual assault.
    + View Summary
  • Secretary Napolitano Announces Standards to Prevent, Detect, and Respond to Sexual Abuse and Assault in Confinement Facilities | HTML HTML
    by U.S. Department of Homeland Security (December 2012)
    This press release announces new standards to prevent, detect, and respond to sexual abuse and assault in confinement facilities in accordance with the Prison Rape Elimination Act of 2003 (PREA).
    + View Summary
  • Recommendations for Administrators of Prisons, Jails, and Community Confinement Facilities for Adapting the U.S. Department of Justice’s A National Protocol for Sexual Assault Medical Forensic Examinations, Adults/Adolescents | PDF PDF (66 p.)
    by U.S. Department of Justice, Office on Violence Against Women (2013)
    This guide is designed to assist administrators of prisons, jails, and community confinement facilities in drafting or revising protocols for an immediate response to reports of sexual assault.
    + View Summary
  • Sexual Abuse in U.S. Immigration Detention | PDF PDF (2 p.)
    by Just Detention International (January 2009)
    This brief fact sheet talks about the risk of sexual abuse that immigration detainees face and the difficulty of seeking assistance.
    + View Summary
  • No Refuge Here: A First Look at Sexual Abuse in Immigration Detention | PDF PDF (34 p.)
    by Stop Prisoner Rape (2004)
    This report provides information about the sexual abuse of immigrants while in detention centers in the United States.
    + View Summary
  • No Refuge Here: Sexual Abuse in Immigration Detention | HTML HTML [1:30:47]
    moderated by Christine Kregg for Just Detention International (June 26, 2013)
    This webinar on sexual violence behind bars focuses on the immigration detention system. Expert presenters look at the unique vulnerabilities of immigrant detainees, and the obstacles they face to getting help.
    + View Summary

Barriers to accessing services | Back to top

This section addresses many barriers to services – including but not limited to language barriers, cultural practices, fear of retaliation from assailants, and lack of knowledge about available services – that may prevent some immigrants and refugees from accessing sexual violence-related services. The following documents address some of these issues and offer recommendations for circumventing barriers.

  • Sexual Assault Among Latinas (SALAS) Study | PDF PDF (67 p.)
    by Carlos A. Cuevas, Ph.D., Chiara Sabina, Ph.D. for the U.S. Department of Justice (April 2010)
    This study adds to the literature by using a national sample of Latino women to determine the extent of interpersonal victimization alone and the overlap and the overlap among different forms of victimization.
    + View Summary
  • Preventing sexual violence in Latin@ communities: A national needs assessment | PDF PDF (147 p.)
    by Carlos A. Cuevas, Ph.D., Chiara Sabina, Ph.D. for the U.S. Department of Justice (April 2010)
    While 91.4% of advocates who responded to the national survey said their organization has identified demographics of their intended service population, just 19.3% thought that their clients served matched those demographics; also, participants consistently discussed the importance of creating culturally specific materials that truly reflect the culture of Latin@ and/or Spanish-speaking communities.
    + View Summary
  • Dynamics of Domestic Violence Experienced by Immigrant Victims | PDF PDF (24 p.)
    by Leslye Orloff and Olivia Garcia for The National Immigrant Women's Advocacy Project (2013)
    This chapter gives an introduction to domestic violence and the cultural and linguistic barriers that affect immigrant survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault.
    + View Summary

Services to the survivors of sexual violence | Back to top

This section provides information on the legal options that are available for immigrant women who experience sexual violence. It also provides useful tools for advocates and health care providers when providing services for immigrant women.

Legal protections available: VAWA, U Visa, T Visa

President Barack Obama signs the Violence Against Women Act Reauthorization: March 7, 2013
  • No Free Pass to Harass: Protecting the Rights of Undocumented Immigrant Women Workers in Sexual Harassment Cases | PDF PDF (40 p.)
    by ACLU Women’s Rights Project and National Employment Law Project (2007)
    This guide is intended as a tool for effective litigation of sexual harassment claims brought on behalf of immigrant women workers.
    + View Summary
  • Winning U Visas after the Regulations | PDF PDF (11 p.)
    by Gail Pendleton for LexisNexis (2008)
    This article provides practice pointers on how to prepare winning U visa applications, based on the author’s experience working with Congress to create the U visa, with Citizenship and Immigration Services (CIS) to implement its interim relief process, and with practitioners in the field who have won interim relief for noncitizen victims of crime.
    + View Summary
  • Winning U Visas: Getting the Law Enforcement Certification | PDF PDF (13 p.)
    by Gail Pendleton, ASISTA (February 2008)
    This paper describes the requirements for U visas and emphasizes the need for practitioners to establish a good working relationship with law enforcement officers and help build trust between immigrant survivors and the law enforcement system.
    + View Summary
  • Self-Petitioning Under the Violence Against Women Act | PDF PDF (17 p.)
    by Cecelia Friedman Levin for ASISTA (2013)
    This is a basic overview of the VAWA application, including eligibility requirements, evidentiary issues, benefits, how to address inadmissibility issues, as well as working with applicants in removal proceedings.
    + View Summary
  • Building Collaborations to Help Immigrant Survivors of Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault | HTML HTML
    by Gail Pendleton for the Family Justice Center Alliance (2013)
    This webinar discusses updates on the U Visa process and means to collaborate to assist victims who apply. Congress created the U visa to help both noncitizen victims of crime and law enforcement working with this vulnerable community.
    + View Summary
  • VAWA 2013 and TVPRA: What Practitioners Need to Know | PDF PDF (8 p.)
    by ASISTA (2013)
    The Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013 (VAWA 2013), combined with the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act (TVPRA), was signed into law on March 7, 2013. This practice advisory provides an overview of substantive changes and technical fixes both in VAWA and TVPRA as well as practice pointers for attorneys and advocates on how to work with these new changes.
    + View Summary
Access to Public Benefits
  • Public Benefits Access for Battered Immigrant Women and Children | PDF PDF (33 p.)
    by Cecilia Olavarria, Amanda Baran, Leslye Orloff, and Grace Huang for The Social Security Administration (2004)
    This chapter provides information on public benefit access by types of immigration status, legal requirements for qualifying as battered “qualified” immigrant, different categories of public benefits for which immigrant survivors may qualify, and guidance for advocates and attorneys to address issues that may arise when applying for benefits.
    + View Summary
  • A Quick Guide to Immigrant Eligibility for Affordable Care Act (ACA) and Key Federal Means-tested Programs | PDF PDF (1 p.)
    by the National Immigration Law Center (2013)
    This chart provides information on which public assistance services are available to immigrant women, including undocumented immigrants.
    + View Summary
Health Issues and Immediate Medical Services
  • Clinical Protocol: Victims of Abuse | Word DOC (2 p.)
    by Migrant Clinicians Network
    This sample clinical protocol describes how the clinic works with patients who are suspected of being victims of abuse.
    + View Summary
  • United States Strategy to Prevent and Respond to Gender-Based Violence Globally: What Does it Mean for Sexual and Reproductive Health? | PDF PDF (2 p.)
    by Center for Health and Gender Equity (2013)
    This fact sheet summarizes the 2012 Unites States Strategy to Prevent and Respond to Gender-Based Violence Globally which aims to strengthen the United States’ global response to gender-based violence through service integration, coordination across agencies, and diplomacy.
    + View Summary
  • Medical Interpreter Competency Checklist | Word DOC (2 p.)
    by Migrant Clinicians Network (May 2005)
    This checklist provides guidelines and evaluation for medical interpreters.
    + View Summary
  • Access to Healthcare for Immigrant Victims of Sexual Assault | PDF PDF (30 p.)
    by Leslye Orloff, Amanda Baran, and Phoebe Mounts for The National Immigrant Women's Advocacy Project (2013)
    This chapter describes the range of services an immigrant victim of sexual assault can access through different programs and services of the health care system.
    + View Summary
  • Immigrants and the Affordable Care Act | PDF PDF (1 p.)
    by the National Immigration Law Center (2013)
    This document reviews how immigrants are included in health care reform per provisions in the Affordable Care Act of 2010 (ACA).
    + View Summary
  • Culture Handbook | PDF PDF (28 p.)
    by Sujata Warrier, Futures Without Violence (2005)
    This handbook highlights the importance of culture and provides guidance to develop cultural competency at the individual and organizational levels.
    + View Summary
  • Preventing Gender-based Violence, Building Livelihoods: Guidance and Tools for Improved Programming | PDF PDF (30 p.)
    by Jina-Krause Vilmar for Women’s Refugee Commission
    The guidebook gives tips on how to design safe economic programs and livelihood activities to help prevent gender-based violence.
    + View Summary
  • Breaking the Silence: A Training Manual for Activists, Advocates, and Latina Organizers | PDF PDF ( p.)
    by Sonia Parras Kondra for Futures Without Violence (January 2006)
    This training manual provides basic information about our rights, how the system that protect domestic violence survivors works, and how to overcome the barriers that block immigrant survivors of domestic violence from accessing the available protections from abuse.
    + View Summary
  • Building the Rhythm of Change: Developing Leadership and Improving Services Within the Battered Rural Immigrant Women's Community | PDF PDF (53 p.)
    by Gail Pendleton for Futures Without Violence (2001)
    This manual provides suggestions and guidance on how to organize a project aimed at improving services and eliminating barriers to safety for battered immigrant women through empowerment.
    + View Summary
  • The Community Engagement Continuum: Outreach, Mobilization, Organizing and Accountability to Address Violence Against Women in Asian and Pacific Islander Communities | PDF PDF (68 p.)
    by Mimi Kim for The Asian and Pacific Islander Institute on Domestic Violence (March 2005)
    Designed to help communities engage in step-by-step implementation of strategies to prevent violence against women through four stages: 1) community outreach and education, 2) community mobilization, 3) community organizing and 4) community accountability.
    + View Summary
  • Latinas and Sexual Violence | PDF PDF (4 p.)
    by Arte Sana for the Office for Victims of Crime
    This fact sheet addresses cultural and linguistic considerations for improving outreach into Latina/o communities with a special focus on Latinas and promotes greater awareness of the barriers to services that Latina victims face and tools for removing those barriers.
    + View Summary
  • Special for Immigrant Women | HTML HTML (3 p.)
    by Marie De Santis, Women's Justice Center/ Centro de Justicia Para Mujeres
    This article provides information about U.S. federal law concerning immigrant women who experience domestic and sexual violence and encourages immigrant women to seek help for domestic violence.
    + View Summary
Language And Literacy
The Interpretation Technical Assistance & Resource Center (ITARC) offers training and technical assistance to advocates, interpreters, and social and legal services providers on: Federal and state laws and policies on language access in civil and criminal courts, Meeting the needs of culturally diverse victims/survivors with limited English proficiency, Improving language access policies and practices in organizations and systems, Roles and responsibilities of advocates and systems personnel at various points of contact, Model programs and practices for interpretation services,Training and qualifying standards for court interpretation, and Finding and working with interpreters.
  • Resource Guide for Advocates & Attorneys on Interpretation Services for Domestic Violence Victims | PDF PDF (122 p.)
    by Chic Dabby and Cannon Han, Asian & Pacific Islander Institute on Domestic Violence (August 2009)
    These guidelines from the Interpretation Technical Assistance and Resource Center focus on court interpretation for domestic and sexual violence victims with limited English proficiency.
    + View Summary
  • Developing a Language Access Plan for Your Agency | PDF PDF (2 p.)
    by the Asian and Pacific Islander Institute on Domestic Violence
    This tip sheet clearly lists the steps that shelters can take to develop a language access plan for Limited English Proficiency persons.
    + View Summary
  • What’s in a Word? A Guide to Understanding Interpreting and Translation in Health Care | PDF PDF (32 p.)
    by the National Council on Interpreting in Health Care and American Translators Association (2010)
    This guide explains the difference between interpretation and translation, and provides standards of practice and methods and modes of interpreting and translating.
    + View Summary
  • Identifying Whether an Interpreter is Needed and Tips for Working with an Interpreter | PDF PDF (3 p.)
    prepared by Legal Momentum, NIWAP and American University Washington College of Law
    This document provides tips on assessing the immigrant survivor’s ability to communicate effectively in English. This also includes tips for working with an interpreter.
    + View Summary
  • Ensuring Language Access to Immigrant Victims of Sexual Assault | PDF PDF (18 p.)
    by Leslye Orloff, Amanda Baran, and Martha Cohen for The National Immigrant Women's Advocacy Project, in Empowering Survivors: Legal Rights of Immigrant Victims of Sexual Assault (2010)
    This Chapter demonstrates that although immigrant victims can legally access services that are available to protect victims regardless of immigration status, such as sexual assault and domestic violence services, law enforcement protection, and immigration relief, many immigrant victims are unlikely to seek help due to language barriers, isolation, and lack of information about available help.
    + View Summary
  • The Multilingual Access Model: A Model for Outreach and Services in Non-English Speaking Communities | PDF PDF (75 p.)
    by Beckie Masaki, Mimi Kim and Christy Chung, Asian Women's Shelter, San Francisco (1999)
    This project recruited and trained bicultural-bilingual advocates from area ethnic communities to provide assistance to victims and initiate outreach and awareness activities in their communities. Assistance to 6 providers created an area access plan.
    + View Summary
  • Reaching Individuals Along All Literacy Levels | PDF PDF (5 p.)
    by Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape (September 2006)
    This technical assistance bulletin is intended to support counselors/advocates and prevention educators in reaching individuals along all literacy levels.
    + View Summary

Organizations | Back to top

American Immigration Lawyers Association
The American Immigration Lawyers Association is the national association of immigration lawyers established to promote justice, advocate for fair and reasonable immigration law and policy, advance the quality of immigration and nationality law and practice, and enhance the professional development of its members.

Arte Sana
Arte Sana (art heals) is a national Latina-led nonprofit committed to ending sexual violence and other forms of gender-based aggressions and engage marginalized communities as agents of change.

Asian Pacific Islander Institute on Domestic Violence
The Asian & Pacific Islander Institute on Domestic Violence is a national network of advocates, community members, professionals, domestic violence survivors, scholars, researchers, activists, and other social justice organizations. It serves as a forum for, and clearinghouse on information, research, resources and critical issues about violence against women in Asian and Pacific Islander communities.

The Asian Pacific Islander Institute on Domestic Violence houses the Interpretation Technical Assistance & Resource Center (ITARC) which provides technical assistance on developing, improving and maintaining the delivery of interpretation services for victims of domestic violence. ITARC is a national language access resource for OVW grantees, victim advocates from non-profits, non-governmental agencies, Services, Training, Officers, and Prosecutors (STOP) technical assistance grantees and programs providing culturally and linguistically specific services.

ASISTA's purpose is to centralize assistance for advocates and attorneys facing complex legal problems in advocating for immigrant survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault. ASISTA's clearinghouse offers samples and best practices and its consultants' training services are available to enable service providers to more thoroughly fulfill their purposes.

Casa de Esperanza
Case de Esperanza's mission is to mobilize Latinas and Latino communities to end domestic violence. Casa de Esperanza operates the National Latin@ Network for Healthy Families and Communities (NLN), which exists to advance effective responses to eliminate violence and promote healthy relationships within Latin@ families and communities. The NLN addresses four primary issues: increasing access for Latin@s experiencing domestic violence through training and technical assistance; producing culturally relevant tools for advocates and practitioners; conducting culturally relevant research that explores the context in which Latin@ families experience violence; and interjecting the lived realities of Latin@s into policy efforts to better support Latin@ families.

Futures Without Violence's Immigrant & Refugee Women's Rights Project
This project focuses on providing tools, resources, and intervention strategies on intimate partner violence in immigrant and refugee communities.

Immigration Advocates Network
The Immigration Advocates Network (IAN) is a collaborative effort of leading immigrants' rights organizations designed to increase access to justice for low-income immigrants and strengthen the capacity of organizations serving them. IAN promotes more effective and efficient communication, collaboration, and services among immigration advocates and organizations by providing free, easily accessible and comprehensive online resources and tools.

Interpretation Technical Assistance & Resource Center (ITARC)
The Asian & Pacific Islander Institute on Domestic Violence houses the Interpretation Technical Assistance & Resource Center (ITARC), available to provide technical assistance on developing, improving and maintaining the delivery of interpretation services for victims of domestic violence. ITARC is a national language access resource for OVW grantees, victim advocates from non-profits, non-governmental agencies, Services, Training, Officers, and Prosecutors (STOP) technical assistance grantees and programs providing culturally and linguistically specific services.

Legal Momentum Immigrant Women Program
Legal Momentum advances the rights of women and girls by using the power of the law and creating innovative public policy. The Immigrant Women Program is the nation’s expert on the rights and services available to immigrant victims of domestic and other violence. It shares this expertise through comprehensive materials and trainings for lawyers and advocates nationwide, and leads advocacy for legal protections, social services, and economic justice for immigrant women.

National Employment Law Project
In partnership with national, state and local allies, NELP promotes policies and programs that create good jobs, strengthen upward mobility, enforce hard-won worker rights, and help unemployed workers regain their economic footing through improved benefits and services.

The National Immigrant Women's Advocacy Project (NIWAP)
NIWAP is a national provider of training, legal and social science research, policy development, and technical assistance to advocates, attorneys, pro bono law firms, law schools, universities, law enforcement, prosecutors, social service and health care providers, justice system personnel, and other professionals who work with immigrant women, children and crime victims. NIWAP provides training and technical assistance on a broad range of issues of importance to immigrant women and children, including VAWA immigration and confidentiality, family law, protection orders, public benefits, language access, cultural competency, and access to services, including shelter, transitional housing, health care, and education.

National Immigration Law Center
The National Immigration Law Center is the only national legal advocacy organization in the U.S. exclusively dedicated to defending and advancing the rights of low-income immigrants and their families.

National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild
The National Immigration Project (NIPNLG) is a national non-profit that provides legal and technical support to immigrant communities, legal practitioners, and all advocates seeking to advance the rights of noncitizens.

National Network for Immigrant and Refugee Rights
The National Network for Immigrant and Refugee Rights is a national organization composed of local coalitions and immigrant, refugee, community, religious, civil rights and labor organizations and activists. It serves as a forum to share information and analysis, to educate communities and the general public, and to develop and coordinate plans of action on important immigrant and refugee issues. It works to promote a just immigration and refugee policy in the United States and to defend and expand the rights of all immigrants and refugees, regardless of immigration status.

National Sexual Violence Resource Center
The NSVRC’s Mission is to provide leadership in preventing and responding to sexual violence through collaboration, sharing and creating resources, and promoting research.

Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN)
RAINN is the nation’s largest anti-sexual violence organization. RAINN created and operates the National Sexual Assault Hotline in partnership with more than 1,100 local rape crisis centers across the country and operates the DoD Safe Helpline for the Department of Defense.

Southern Poverty Law Center
The Southern Poverty Law Center is a nonprofit civil rights organization dedicated to fighting hate and bigotry, and to seeking justice for the most vulnerable members of society.

Tahirih Justice Center
The Tahirih Justice Center works to protect immigrant women and girls seeking justice in the United States from gender-based violence. Leveraging both in-house and pro bono attorneys, the Tahirih Justice Center empower our clients to achieve justice and equality through holistic direct legal services and national public policy advocacy..

Tapestri, Inc. is dedicated to ending violence and oppression in refugee and immigrant communities, using culturally competent and appropriate methods. As advocates for refugee and immigrant families affected by domestic violence, sexual assault and exploitation, we are committed to using education, community organizing, direct services and advocacy to effect change in the lives of these families.

Victim Rights Law Center
Founded as the first law center in the nation dedicated solely to serving the legal needs of sexual assault victims, the Victim Rights Law Center is the leader in representing sexual assault victims’ legal rights within the civil context. We not only provide legal representation to victims of rape and sexual assault to help rebuild their lives, but also promote a national movement committed to seeking justice for every rape and sexual assault victim.