Home / Special Collections / Immigrant Women and Domestic Violence

Special Collection: Immigrant Women and Domestic Violence

Table of Contents:





Introduction | Back to top

The term “immigrant women” refers to women from varied socio-cultural, economic, and education backgrounds. They are women who have lived in the U.S. for one month as well as women who have lived here for many years. They have different histories and biographies, including their experiences in their country of origin, of their journey from their home country, of the immigration process, and of living in the U.S. Many immigrant women are U.S. citizens or possess various types of immigration statuses, and some may be undocumented. This diversity among immigrant women also extends to their experiences of domestic violence.

While there are differences in domestic violence experienced by immigrant women, there may be commonalities, such as patterns of abuse, challenges, and barriers to seeking help. Similarly, domestic violence service providers may face common challenges in offering services to immigrant women survivors. These challenges and barriers could be related to the survivors’ immigration status, eligibility for public assistance, cultural practices, English language proficiency, etc. This special collection explores the complex experiences of immigrant survivors and includes resources to support their path to safety and justice. It also includes resources that help service providers respond effectively and appropriately to immigrant women who are experiencing domestic violence.

It is important to note here that several documents included in this Special Collection focus on laws and regulations related to maintaining legal immigration status, public assistance, and related matters. These laws and regulations change over time and thus, some of the documents included here may be dated or may become dated. For example, many documents listed here may not account for changes that occurred with the recent passage of VAWA 2013. For up-to-date resources on laws and regulations, please also consult ASISTA, Legal Momentum, the National Immigrant Women’s Advocacy Project, and Futures Without Violence. This collection will be updated with new resources as they become available, and we welcome your comments and suggestions via VAWnet’s online contact form.

This collection was developed by staff of the Minnesota Center Against Violence and Abuse (March 2009) in consultation with the National Resource Center on Domestic Violence, updated by Sheetal Rana (October 2013), and complements the parallel collection, Immigrant Women and Sexual Violence.

Domestic violence in immigrant communities | Back to top

This section presents information on domestic violence in immigrant communities, including its prevalence and the nature of power and control used against immigrant women.

Immigrant Women and Domestic Violence is a resource page from Futures Without Violence that offers recommendations andn helpful resources for working with immigrant populations.
  • Intimate Partner Violence in Immigrant and Refugee Communities: Challenges, Promising Practices and Recommendations | PDF PDF (66 p.)
    by Futures Without Violence (March 2009)
    This report offers information on unique challenges faced by immigrant and refugee survivors of IPV and how services and systems are responding to them. The report includes recommendations and summaries for future work and funding efforts.
    + View Summary
  • The Facts on Immigrant Women and Domestic Violence | PDF PDF (2 p.)
    by Futures Without Violence
    This fact sheet draws from various studies to show the prevalence of domestic violence in immigrant communities, and presents information about the cultural, legal, and economic barriers that cause difficulties for immigrant women in escaping abuse.
    + View Summary
  • Battered Immigrants and U.S. Citizen Spouses | PDF PDF (10 p.)
    by Giselle Aguilar Hass, Nawal Ammar, and Leslye Orloff, Legal Momentum (April 2006)
    This paper reviews and provides data on the dynamics of domestic violence experienced by immigrant women. The authors demonstrate how power and control over the immigration status of an immigrant partner enhances the likelihood and severity of abuse.
    + View Summary
  • Somewhere to Turn: Making Domestic Violence Services Accessible to Battered Immigrant Women - A 'How To' Manual For Battered Women's Advocates and Service Providers | PDF PDF (198 p.)
    by Leslye E. Orloff and Rachael Little, The National Immigrant Women's Advocacy Project (Updated July 2011)
    Manual materials are offered to help develop individual agency programs and raise general awareness about the particular legal and social service issues affecting battered immigrants.
    + View Summary
  • Battered Mothers Involved with Child Protective Services: Learning from Immigrant, Refugee, and Indigenous Women’s Experiences | PDF PDF (103 p.)
    by V. Pualani Enos for the Asian and Pacific Islander Institute on Domestic Violence (Revised 2010)
    This report presents voices of immigrant, refugee, and indigenous women survivors on their experiences with the Child Protective Services. The report aims to inform and enhance the child protective services system.
    + View Summary
  • Raising Our Voices: Queer Asian Women's Response to Relationship Violence | PDF PDF (46 p.)
    by Cristy Chung and Summer Lee, edited by Leni Marin for Futures Without Violence
    This report presents findings of focus groups with queer Asian women survivors living in the U.S. Included in this report are domestic violence experiences and service needs of queer Asian communities.
    + View Summary
  • Lifecourse Experiences of Intimate Partner Violence and Help-Seeking among Filipina, Indian, and Pakistan Women: Implications for Justice System Responses | PDF PDF (122 p.)
    by Meiko Yoshihama, D. Bybee, C. Dabby, J. Blazevski for U.S. Department of Justice (2011)
    This report presents research findings on Asian battered women’s help seeking from the Criminal Justice system (CJS) and other programs and offers recommendations to the CJS for enhancing their responses to IPV in Asian communities.
    + View Summary
  • Investigating Domestic Violence Among South Asian Immigrant Women, Research Brief | PDF PDF (2 p.)
    by Apna Ghar, Loyola University Chicago (2005)
    This research brief shows the prevalence of domestic violence in South Asian immigrant communities. It discusses the barriers faced by immigrant women who experience domestic violence and highlights the need for skilled advocates to assist immigrant women.
    + View Summary
  • Dynamics of sexual assault and implications for immigrant women | PDF PDF (24 p.)
    by Jessica Mindlin, Leslye E. Orloff, Sameera Pochiraju, Amanda Baran, and Ericka Echavarria for the National Immigrant Women’s Advocacy Project (2012)
    This document describes immigrant women’s unique experiences of sexual violence by intimate partners and others. The unique experiences could be because of several factors, including legal status, language barriers, and challenges associated with being in a new culture. The document also discusses challenges faced by immigrant women in accessing services.
    + View Summary
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.
  • Domestic Violence High for Mail Order Brides | HTML HTML
    by Jackie Northam for National Public Radio (July 3, 2003)
    This radio program talks about domestic violence experienced by immigrant women who come to the country after getting marriage to American men through international match making businesses.
    + View Summary
M@il-Order Brides is a website from the Mail-Order Bride Protection Organization to Shield & Shelter Emigrants (M.O.B. P.O.S.S.E.) which includes a resource page on the risk of domestic violence for immigrant spouses.
Power and Control Wheels
Developed from the experiences of battered women, the Power and Control Wheel shows patterns and actions individuals use intentionally to exercise control over their intimate partners. The wheels provided below reflect unique experiences of immigrant women who experience domestic violence.
  • Power and Control Tactics Used Against Immigrant Women | PDF PDF (3 p.)
    by the Family Violence Prevention Fund (n.d.)
    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
  • Violence in the Home is a Global Phenomenon: Immigrant and Refugee Power and Control Wheel | PDF PDF (1 p.)
    by Bri Chomilo for Home Free (2002)
    An adaptation of the Power & Control Wheel, this illustration describes abusive tactics that batterers use to control their victims, focusing on how they may be experienced by battered immigrant and refugee women.
    + 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

Barriers to accessing services | Back to top

This section presents documents that examine, describe, and recommend strategies for addressing barriers faced by immigrant women when accessing services. These barriers may include cultural practices, English language profeciency, immigrant survivors’ and their children’s immigrant status, and economic dependency on the perpetrator. Another major barrier could be service providers who have limited resources and skills to appropriately respond to immigrant survivor’s unique needs.

Immigrant status has been found to have an impact on survivors' help seeking behavior. A study found that Latino immigrants were less likely than non-immigrants to seek help for domestic violence from formal agencies (6.9% vs. 14.7%). (Ingram, 2007)
  • Immigrant Victims of Domestic Violence: Cultural Challenges and Available Legal Protections | PDF PDF (8 p.) HTML HTML
    by Sudha Shetty and Janice Kaguyutan, VAWnet: The National Online Resource Center on Violence Against Women (February 2002)
    Explores the unique experiences and challenges facing immigrant battered women in the U.S. This paper also outlines legal protections available to immigrant women who experience domestic violence, including an overview of options available through VAWA.
    + View Summary
  • Realities for Immigrant Populations: How they Experience the System | PDF PDF (19 p.)
    by Gail Pendleton & Ellen Kemp, ASISTA Immigrant Women's Technical Assistance Project (2006)
    This document describes experiences, barriers, and fears of many immigrant victims of domestic violence, sexual assault and stalking when accessing the U.S. civil and criminal justice systems, and provides an overview of the immigration system and laws.
    + View Summary
  • Breaking Barriers: A Complete Guide to Legal Rights and Resources for Battered Immigrants | HTML HTML
    by Leslye E. Orloff and Kathleen Sullivan, Eds., Legal Momemtum, Immigrant Women Program (2004)
    This manual provides information about domestic violence experienced by immigrant women, the multiple cultural, legal and economic factors that prevent battered immigrant women from seeking help, and how advocates can help rebuild social support networks.
    + View Summary
  • NCRW Big Five: Under the Radar – Immigrant Women and Violence | PDF PDF (3 p.)
    by The National Council for Research on Women
    This document notes that intimate partner violence and exploitative work conditions are the two most common forms of abuse experienced by immigrant women. However, language, cultural, economic and legal barriers intersect and prevent help-seeking.
    + View Summary
  • Developing Linguistically and Culturally Responsive Materials for Latina Survivors of Domestic Violence | PDF PDF (20 p.)
    by Adelita M. Medina & Jessica F. Vasquez, National Latino Alliance for the Elimination of Domestic Violence (February 2004)
    This document discusses barriers to seeking help by Latina immigrant survivors of domestic violence and the challenges faced by programs in providing services to immigrant survivors of domestic violence.
    + View Summary

Legal protections available | Back to top

The documents included in this section provide information about legal provisions, mainly Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), immigration laws, and international laws, that offer protection and assistance to immigrant women who are in domestic violence situations. Please note that s ome of the documents in this section may become dated over time because laws and regulations tend to change. For current resources, please visit ASISTA, Legal Momentum, the National Immigrant Women’s Advocacy Project, and Futures Without Violence.

In the U.S., victims of crime, regardless of their immigration or citizenship status, can access help from law enforcement or the courts, as well as help provided by government or non-governmental agencies, which may include counseling, interpreters, safety planning, emergency housing and possibly monetary assistance. (U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services)
Violence Against Women Act (VAWA)

The Violence Against Women Act of 1994, 2000, 2005, and 2013 reauthorization is a federal legislation that protects immigrant women from domestic violence and offers public assistance to immigrant survivors. The documents presented in this section are listed in chronological order and provide information on the history of VAWA and provisions made by VAWA.


President Barack Obama signs the Violence Against Women Act Reauthorization: March 7, 2013
  • What will the renewal of VAWA change? | HTML HTML
    by the National Network to End Domestic Violence (2013)
    This webpage provides information about changes in VAWA 2013 and how it addresses gaps in services and justice for all survivors.
    + 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
  • Information on the Legal Rights Available to Immigrant Victims of Domestic Violence in the United States and Facts about Immigrating on a Marriage-based Visa Fact Sheet | HTML HTML
    by U.S Citizenship and Information Services
    This website provides information about domestic violence and legal rights of immigrant women married to a US citizen and includes information about services available to immigrant survivors. The second part of this website gives information about immigration options for survivors.
    + View Summary
  • Factsheet: The Violence Against Women Act | PDF PDF (2 p.)
    by the White House
    This fact sheet presents information on how VAWA has improved criminal justice response to VAW, improved survivors access to services, and created positive changes.
    + View Summary
  • Offering a Helping Hand: Legal Protections for Battered Immigrant Women, A History of Legislative Responses | PDF PDF (60 p.)
    by Leslye E. Orloff & Janice v. Kaguyutan, American University Journal of Gender, Social Policy & the Law (2002)
    This article presents an overview of the history of legal protections for immigrant women who experience domestic violence in the United States, noting legal amendments since 1990 that reflect an increased understanding of the danger of domestic violence.
    + View Summary
U visa
The VAWA 2000 created U visa, which is a non-immigrant visa for victims of certain crimes, including domestic violence. This visa allows victims to reside legally in the U.S. while cooperating with law enforcement to prosecute offenders and prevent these crimes.

An Introduction to Law Enforcement Use of the U-Visa [57:42] is a webinar recording from Legal Momentum and the Vera Institute of Justice (August 2013).
  • U Visa Interim Regulations Fact Sheet and Guidance | PDF PDF (7 p.)
    by National Network to End Violence Against Immigrant Women (2007)
    This document presents information about U visa requirements.
    + View Summary
  • U Visa for Domestic Violence Crimes | PDF PDF (1 p.)
    by Northwest Immigrant Rights Project
    This brief provides general information about the process of applying for U visa.
    + 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 that practitioners establish good working relationships with law enforcement officers and help build trust between immigrant survivors and the law enforcement system.
    + View Summary
  • Overcoming Inadmissibility for U Visa applicants | PDF PDF (5 p.)
    by Gail Pendleton, ASISTA
    This paper provides information and strategies for applying for U visa application waivers.
    + View Summary
  • U Visa Laws for Crime Victims | HTML HTML
    by Women’s Law, a project of NNEDV (2008)
    This page provides information about U visa, including what this visa is, who can be its principal applicants, grounds for inadmissibility, and costs for its application.
    + View Summary
  • Introduction to U visa consular processes | PDF PDF (36 p.)
    by Sonia Parras, Cecelia Friedman, and Gail Pendleton for Assista
    This document presents information about processing U visa overseas, challenges involved in the process, and strategies to address the challenges.
    + View Summary
  • Building Collaborations to Help Immigrant Survivors of Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault | PDF 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 Confidentiality
VAWA’s confidentiality provisions generally prohibit disclosure to a third-party of any information relating to a noncitizen who is an applicant for relief under VAWA.
  • VAWA confidentiality provisions at DHS | PDF PDF (1 p.)
    by the Department of Homeland Security
    This website provides information on VAWA confidentiality and on reporting VAWA confidentiality violation by a DHS employee.
    + View Summary
  • VAWA Confidentiality | PDF PDF (1 p.)
    by Legal Momentum
    This sheet provides information on who is protected by VAWA confidentiality provisions and exceptions to this confidentiality provisions.
    + View Summary
International laws
  • Adult Domestic Violence in Cases of International Parental Child Abduction | PDF PDF (25 p.)
    by Sudha Shetty and Jeffrey L. Edleson, The Hague Domestic Violence Project (2005)
    This paper discusses the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction and its affect on battered mothers and their children who are seeking safety in the United States.
    + View Summary
Language Access Rights
  • Reducing Language Barriers to Combating Domestic Violence: The Requirements of Title VI | PDF PDF (8 p.)
    by Carolyn Ham of the Battered Women's Justice Project for the Western New York Law Center
    This paper highlights Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which stipulates that no person shall be subjected to discrimination based on race, color, or national origin in any federally funded programs or activities.
    + View Summary
  • State Statutes Requiring the Provision of Foreign Language Interpreters to Parties in Civil Proceedings | PDF PDF (12 p.)
    by the Washington Coalition of Sexual Assault Programs for the American Bar Association Commission on Domestic Violence (June 2007)
    This document provides a list of statutes by states on the use of interpreters in civil proceedings.
    + View Summary

Public benefits available | Back to top

Public benefits play a critical role in increasing the safety of immigrant women who survive domestic violence. The documents included in this section provide information about eligibility to receive public benefits for immigrant women and the types of benefits available.

  • Public Benefits Access to Battered Women and Children | PDF PDF (7 p.)
    by Legal Momentum
    This paper provides information about eligibility for public welfare by immigrant women survivors of domestic violence and benefits available.
    + View Summary
  • 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
  • Access to Programs and Services that can help Battered Immigrants | PDF PDF (23 p.)
    by Cecilia Olavarria, Amanda Baran, Leslye Orloff, and Grace Huang for OVW (2004)
    This chapter provides information on services offered to immigrant survivors by nonprofit organizations and requirements that service providers must meet when working with battered immigrant populations.
    + 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
  • Overview of Immigrant Eligibility for Federal Programs | PDF PDF (9 p.)
    by National Immigration Law Center (April 2005)
    This document provides an overview of immigrants eligibility for the various federal public assistance programs.
    + View Summary
  • Comparing Forms of Immigration Relief for Immigrant Victims of Crime | PDF PDF (8 p.)
    by Legal Momentum/National Immigrant Women’s Advocacy Project (2012)
    This chart provides information about different relief options available to immigrant survivors of violence.
    + View Summary
Medicaid and Temporary Assistance
  • Medical Assistance Programs for Immigrants in Various States | PDF PDF (4 p.)
    by National Immigration Law Center (July 2012)
    This table presents a list of state funded programs that provide cash assistance to immigrants who are not eligible for federally funded Temporary Assistance to Needy Families program.
    + View Summary
  • State-Funded Medical Assistance Programs | PDF PDF (2 p.)
    by National Immigration Law Center (2006)
    This table presents a list of state funded programs that provide medical coverage for immigrants who are not eligible for federally funded Medicaid program.
    + View Summary
Temporary housing
  • Housing and Battered Women | PDF PDF (11 p.) HTML HTML
    by Amy Correia and Jen Rubin, VAWnet: The National Online Resource Center on Violence Against Women (November 2001)
    This paper offers a research on DV and homelessness and trends in federal housing policy. A model for conducting a community assessment of local housing needs includes critical thinking questions on an organization’s capacity for housing advocacy.
    + View Summary
  • Somewhere to Turn: Making Domestic Violence Services Accessible to Battered Immigrant Women - A 'How To' Manual For Battered Women's Advocates and Service Providers | PDF PDF (198 p.)
    by Leslye E. Orloff and Rachael Little, The National Immigrant Women's Advocacy Project (Updated July 2011)
    Manual materials are offered to help develop individual agency programs and raise general awareness about the particular legal and social service issues affecting battered immigrants.
    + View Summary
  • The Impact of the Violence Against Women Act of 2005 (VAWA) on the Housing Rights and Options of Survivors of Domestic and Sexual Violence | PDF PDF (10 p.)
    by National Law Center on Homelessness & Poverty (March 2006)
    This Q&A document explains the key housing provisions of VAWA 2005, including housing-related grant programs, amendments to public housing and section 8 regarding eviction defense, eligibility, and portability, HMIS changes, and new planning requirements.
    + View Summary
  • Letter from the US Department of Housing And Urban Development to HUD Funds Recipients | PDF PDF (3 p.)
    by A. Cuomo (January 19, 2001)
    This letter informs HUD grant recipients operating emergency shelters and transitional housing programs that all immigrants, including undocumented immigrants, are eligible for such services. The letter references relevant laws and regulations.
    + View Summary
  • Rental Housing Programs Excerpt from the Guide to Immigrant Eligibility for Federal Programs | PDF PDF (3 p.)
    by National Immigration Law Center (4th Edition 2002, and revised October 2005)
    This excerpt provides basic information about immigrant eligibility for various federal means-tested rental housing programs: including public housing, Section 8, Section 515 rental housing, Section 514/516 farm labor housing, and LIHTC housing.
    + View Summary

Enhancing services for immigrant women | Back to top

Improving cultural understanding and sensitivity to the unique needs of domestic violence survivors is critical in making service accessible to them. This includes offering services with cultural humility, community outreach, and offering services in different languages and in culturally appropriate ways. It is also vital that we recognize and understand cultures in a positive manner and not just as a barrier. The documents included in this section provide guidance on responding to immigrant women with cultural competency.

Knowledge about the socio-economic, cultural, and political contexts within which immigrant women experience domestic violence is central to providing culturally competent services. (NRCDV, 2013)
  • Cultural Competency Tips | PDF PDF (2 p.)
    by the Family Violence Prevention Fund
    This brief tipsheet provides guidance on working with survivors from various cultures in a culturally relevant manner.
    + View Summary
  • Culture Handbook | PDF PDF (28 p.)
    by Sujata Warrier for the Family Violence Prevention Fund (2005)
    This handbook highlights the importance of culture and provides guidance to develop cultural competency at the individual and organizational levels.
    + View Summary
  • Developing Culturally-Relevant Responses to Domestic Abuse: Asha Family Services, Inc. | PDF PDF (56 p.)
    by Antonia Vann for the National Resource Center on Domestic Violence (2003)
    Documents the development and growth of the first and only recognized culturally-specific family violence intervention and prevention program in Wisconsin which employs methods specific to serving African American families.
    + View Summary
  • Overcoming Cultural Barriers in Working with Immigrant Battered Women | PDF PDF (4 p.)
    by Legal Momentum (1998)
    This information sheet for advocates provides tips for understanding and becoming sensitive to the barriers faced by immigrant women in seeking safety from domestic violence.
    + View Summary
  • Addressing Domestic Violence in Immigrant Communities: Critical Issues for Culturally Competent Services | PDF PDF ( p.)
    by Sheetal Rana in consultation with Leni Marin (February 2012)
    This Applied Research paper provides an overview of the methodological issues in research used to generate knowledge of the nature and dynamics of domestic violence in immigrant communities, the research findings that help us understand the broad contexts within which immigrant women experience domestic violence, and provides some considerations for culturally competent services.
    + View Summary
  • Collaboration, Confidentiality, and Expanding Advocacy | PDF PDF (34 p.)
    by Leslye Orloff and Laurie DePalo for NIWAP (2004
    This document presents information on the importance of collaborating with other agencies to improve culturally competent services to immigrant survivors, on how to collaborate with different agencies, and on how to address problems when working with collaboration.
    + View Summary
  • Advocacy to Improve Services for Battered Migrant and Immigrant Women Living in Rural Communities: Chapter 3 | PDF PDF (54 p.)
    by Legal Momentum and Organizacion en California de Lideres Campesinas, Inc.
    This manual provides information to immigrant, migrant and refugees living in rural communities about their rights, legal options and public assistance available, and safety planning tips. Includes strategies for improving services for survivors.
    + View Summary
  • Improving Accessibility of Your Program’s Services to Battered Immigrant Women | PDF PDF (3 p.)
    by Legal Momentum
    This pamphlet provides tips for community programs to expand services to immigrant women who are in abusive relationships.
    + View Summary
  • Interviewing and Safety Planning for Immigrant Victims of Domestic Violence | PDF PDF (18 p.)
    by Legal Momentum (2004)
    This document suggests culturally competent approaches that advocates and attorneys could use to communicate with immigrant survivors and help them plan their safety.
    + View Summary
  • Human Trafficking Assessment for Domestic Violence & Sexual Assault Programs | HTML HTML (5 p.)
    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
  • Immigration options for victims of crimes: Information for Law Enforcement, Healthcare Providers and Others | HTML HTML
    by U.S Citizenships and Immigration Services
    This brochure provides information about VAWA, U visa and T visa, including information about eligibility criteria and which forms to file for U or T nonimmigrant visa.
    + View Summary
  • Inside Out: Strengthening Advocacy and Services for Refugee, Immigrant, and Limited English Proficient Survivors. A Guide to Self-Assessment and Planning for Domestic Violence Programs | PDF PDF (32 p.)
    by Aaliyah Gupta for Crossing Borders Project, Washington State Coalition Against Domestic Violence
    The Self-Assessment Guide is a tool kit for doing the "inside work" within programs to strengthen and expand services for immigrant survivors.
    + View Summary
Community outreach
Victim service agencies play a key role in activating internal community resources, building community awareness, and educating informal networks, thus providing a pathway for information to reach battered immigrant women. (Ingram, 2007)
  • Outreach to Underserved Communities | PDF PDF (214 p.)
    by Sujata Warrier, National Resource Center on Domestic Violence (NRCDV) (February 2000)
    This curriculum is designed to help domestic violence programs reach out to underserved communities in order to address the issues of diversity and of the limited access to quality services for battered women from those communities.
    + View Summary
  • Improving Services and Outreach to the Latino Community | HTML HTML (5 p.)
    by Marie De Santis, Women's Justice Center/ Centro de Justicia Para Mujeres
    This article notes that Latino community is diverse but as a whole an underserved community and provides suggestions for improving services and outreach to the Latino community.
    + 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, 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 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
  • The Community Engagement Continuum: Outreach, Mobilization, Organizing and Accountability to Address Violence Against Women in Asian and Pacific Islander Communities | PDF PDF (70 p.)
    by Mimi Kim for The Asian and Pacific Islander Institute on Domestic Violence (Updated 2010)
    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
Language Access for Limited English Proficient (LEP) Survivors
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.
  • Language Access and Domestic Violence: Communicating with Limited English Proficient Individuals | PDF PDF (3 p.)
    by Encuentro Latino (2011)
    This document provides recommendations for service providers for working with domestic violence survivors with limited English proficiency. Ethical and legal considerations are discussed, as well as tips for working with interpreters.
    + View Summary
  • 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
  • Identifying whether an Interpreter is Needed and Tips for Working with an Interpreter | PDF PDF (3 p.)
    by the American Bar Association
    This tip sheet presents information on how to determine if a client needs an interpreter and provides tips on working with interpreters to communicate effectively with clients.
    + View Summary
  • Language Assistance Planning and Self-Assessment Tool | PDF PDF (18 p.) HTML HTML (18 p.)
    by LEP.gov
    This document provides guidance to organizations that receive federal funds to self-assess their capabilities for other-than-English language services and planning for language assistance to clients with Limited English proficiency.
    + View Summary
  • Quick Tips for Using an Interpreter | HTML HTML (1 p.)
    by Marie De Santis, Women's Justice Center/ Centro de Justicia Para Mujeres
    This information sheet provides suggestions for working with interpreters in cases involving immigrant survivors of domestic violence.
    + View Summary
  • Developing Linguistically and Culturally Responsive Materials for Latina Survivors of Domestic Violence | PDF PDF (20 p.)
    by Adelita M. Medina & Jessica F. Vasquez for the National Latino Alliance for the Elimination of Domestic Violence / Alianza Latina Nacional Para Erradicar la Violencia DomÈstica (February 2004)
    This document discusses barriers to seeking help by Latina immigrant survivors of domestic violence and the challenges faced by programs in providing services to immigrant survivors of domestic violence.
    + View Summary
  • Quiz: Are your services linguistically and culturally accessible to immigrant and refugee women? | PDF PDF (1 p.)
    by Futures without Violence
    This quiz helps service providers identify if their services are linguistically and culturally accessible to immigrant and refugee women.
    + View Summary
  • Model Protocol on Services for Limited English Proficient Immigrant and Refugee Victims of Domestic Violence | PDF PDF (27 p.)
    by Lupita Patterson for Washington State Coalition Against Domestic Violence (2002)
    This model protocol contains recommended policy and procedures for domestic violence advocates and programs to use in serving limited English proficient (LEP) immigrants and refugees.
    + 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

Information for survivors of domestic violence | Back to top

The brochures and pamphlets included in this section provide information about domestic violence, which may help immigrant women identify and seek services. Information is offered about the US immigration laws, legal protections, and public benefits available.

  • You have a Right to Be Free from Violence in Your Home, Questions and Answers for Immigrant and Refugee Women | PDF PDF (2 p.)
    by Futures Without Violence
    Available in eight languages, this brochure presents information on domestic violence, and on actions immigrant and refugee women survivors can take to protect themselves. The brochure also answers questions related to survivors’ immigration and public assistance eligibility
    + View Summary
  • How to Protect Yourself and Your Children from Domestic Violence: Safety Planning for Immigrant and Refugee Women | PDF PDF (24 p.)
    by Legal Momentum(2004)
    This document offers guidance to immigrant survivors for planning their safety at home and at work and for planning for safety of their children.
    + View Summary
  • Information for Immigrants | HTML HTML
    by the National Domestic Violence Hotline
    This webpage answers questions that immigrant women in domestic violence situations may have, including answers such as where to report domestic violence, how to be safe, and legal issues related to immigrant status.
    + View Summary
  • Rights and Options for Battered Immigrant, Migrant, and Refugee Women | PDF PDF (44 p.)
    by Legal Momentum and Organizacion en California de Lideres Campesinas (Updated 2007)
    This document provides information about domestic violence, immigrant women’s rights, legal options and services available to them.
    + View Summary
  • Safety Plan for Immigrant Women who are Victims of Domestic Violence | PDF PDF (11 p.)
    by Ayuda, Inc.
    This paper outlines safety planning for immigrant domestic violence victims. Information for those planning to leave an abusive relationship, those who have left and preventative measures for those who are not prepared to leave is included.
    + 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
  • Do You Have Problems at Home? Read About Your Rights in this Country | PDF PDF (9 p.)
    by Sonia Parras Konrad, Esq., ASISTA and Legal Momentum
    This document provides information to immigrant women about domestic violence, the US immigrant laws and rights, and public assistance available.
    + View Summary
  • Immigration Issues and Resources | PDF PDF (8 p.)
    by Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders
    This fact sheet provides legal information to immigrants who identify themselves as LGBT and immigrants who are HIV-positive.
    + View Summary
  • Homes Free of Violence: Options and Help for Immigrant or Refugee Women | PDF PDF (2 p.)
    by National Latino Alliance for the Elimination of Domestic Violence
    This brochure provides information on the options and help available for immigrant women who experience domestic violence.
    + View Summary
  • “I Speak” Cards | HTML HTML
    by Culture Connect, Inc. (2010)
    Two-sided bilingual cards with printed information about Language Access Rights, as well as a statement that requests an interpreter. Translated into more than 30 languages.
    + View Summary
  • Document Gathering for Self-Petitioning Under the Violence Against Women Act, A Step by Step Guide | PDF PDF (74 p.)
    by M. Mendelson, ASISTA
    This manual provides guidance on gathering necessary documents for VAWA self petition.
    + View Summary
  • Know Your Rights | PDF PDF (2 p.)
    by Federal Interagency Working Group on Limited English Proficiency
    This brochure informs that all federally funded organizations are required under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to provide interpreter services. The brochure provides guidance on how to identify and where to report National Origin Discrimination.
    + View Summary

Training Materials | Back to top

This section provides training manuals for immigration lawyers, advocates, and service providers. The manuals include guidance for domestic violence prevention in immigrant communities and for providing effective services to immigrant women who experience domestic violence. Information about legal options and public benefits is also included but these may be dated. Please visit ASISTA, Legal Momentum, the National Immigrant Women’s Advocacy Project, the National Network to End Violence Against Immigrant Women, and Futures Without Violence for current resources.

  • Somewhere to Turn: Making Domestic Violence Services Accessible to Battered Immigrant Women - A 'How To' Manual For Battered Women's Advocates and Service Providers | PDF PDF (3 p.) HTML HTML
    by Leslye E. Orloff and Rachael Little, AYUDA, Inc. (May 1999)
    Manual materials are offered to help 'develop individual agency programs and raise general awareness about the particular legal and social service issues affecting battered immigrants.'
    + View Summary
  • Breaking the Silence: A Training Manual for Activists, Advocates, and Latina Organizers | PDF PDF (128 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
  • Engendering Change: Transforming Gender Roles in Asian and Pacific Islander Communities | PDF PDF (21 p.)
    by Chic Dabby and Grace Poore, Asian & Pacific Islander Institute on Domestic Violence (August 2007)
    This report discusses the link between gender roles and domestic violence and presents two batterer intervention programs for Asian men that work toward changing misogynistic and sexist attitude.
    + View Summary
  • Assisting Immigrant Victims of Domestic Violence, Advocate’s Guide | PDF PDF (8 p.)
    by Battered Women’s Justice Project
    This guide for advocates provides guidance on collaborating with immigrant and community agencies to effectively respond to the unique needs of battered immigrant women.
    + View Summary
  • Assisting Immigrant Victims of Domestic Violence, Law Enforcement Guide | PDF PDF (8 p.)
    by Battered Women’s Justice Project
    This guide for law enforcement officers provide information about language and cultural issues faced by immigrant women, and immigration laws and services available for immigrant women.
    + View Summary
  • Assisting Immigrant Victims of Domestic Violence, Prosecutor’s Guide | PDF PDF (8 p.)
    by Battered Women’s Justice Project
    This document provides information to prosecutors on assisting immigrant victims of domestic violence, suggesting that prosecutors collaborate with community-based domestic violence and immigrant service organizations.
    + View Summary
  • Facilitating Access to TANF for Battered Immigrants: A Pilot Training Manual for TANF Eligibility Workers | PDF PDF (126 p.)
    by Leslye E. Orloff, Leandra Zarnow, and Yiris Cornwall for Legal Momentum
    This training manual provides information to TANF eligibility workers on how to access TANF for qualified alien immigrant survivors.
    + View Summary

Organizations | Back to top

There are many national and local organizations that provide services to immigrant survivors of domestic violence, train domestic violence service providers, and provide information about domestic violence in immigrant communities. The following list includes national level organizations or associations only. These organizations have close connections to local agencies serving immigrant and refugee communities and should be able to make specific referrals, if necessary.

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.

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.

Asian Women's Shelter
The mission of the Asian Women's Shelter (AWS) is to eliminate domestic violence by promoting the social, economic, and political self-determination of women. AWS is committed to every person's right to live in a violence-free home. It specifically addresses the cultural and language needs of immigrant, refugee, and U.S.-born Asian women and their children.

ASISTA
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.

Battered Women's Justice Project
The Battered Women's Justice Project offers training, technical assistance, and consultation on the most promising practices of the criminal and civil justice system in addressing domestic violence.

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.

The Hague Domestic Violence Project
The Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction was completed in October 1980 and put into effect in the U.S. through passage in 1988 of the International Child Abduction Remedies Act (ICARA, 42 U.S.C.A. § 11603). The Hague Convention establishes international law for handling cases in which children are abducted from one country to another. States party to the Convention are expected to help quickly return abducted children to their "habitual residence" where other issues, such as custody, can be resolved by local jurisdictions (Hilton, 1997). The Hague Convention website is devoted to providing information to battered mothers, their advocates and attorneys, and judges hearing Hague Convention cases involving adult domestic violence.

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 Immigrant Family Violence Institute (NIFVI)
The National Immigrant Family Violence Institute is dedicated to eliminating domestic violence in immigrant communities. The organization provides individualized technical assistance and training, as well as specialized resource materials on the unique issues faced by immigrant communities in combating domestic violence. NIFVI serves a variety of organizations, including domestic violence agencies, immigrant serving agencies, law enforcement and legal practitioners.

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 Network to End Violence Against Immigrant Women
The National Network to End Violence Against Immigrant Women seeks to challenge and eliminate all forms of oppression and discrimination against immigrant women facing violence by empowering them to build better lives of their choice.

National Latino Alliance for the Elimination of Domestic Violence
The National Latino Alliance for the Elimination of Domestic Violence (Alianza) is part of a national effort to address the domestic violence needs and concerns of under-served populations. It represents a growing network of Latina and Latino advocates, practitioners, researchers, community activists, and survivors of domestic violence.

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.

The National Domestic Violence Hotline
The National Domestic Violence Hotline (NDVH) was established in 1996 as a component of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) passed by Congress, NDVH is a nonprofit organization that provides crisis intervention, information and referral to victims of domestic violence, perpetrators, friends and families. Assistance is available in English and Spanish with access to more than 170 languages through interpreter services.

Tapestri
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.