Domestic Violence In Asian Communities


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This presentation was created by three masters level students at the University of Michigan in the School of Public Health and School of Social Work. It is meant as an educational tool and introduction to the often hidden issue of domestic violence in Asian American communities. For more information, please visit

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Domestic Violence In Asian Communities

  1. 1. Statistics The Immigrant Power & Control Wheel Laws Safety Planning Resources
  2. 2. Prevalence of Domestic Violence • Around the world, at least 1 in every 3 women has been beaten, coerced into sex or otherwise abused during her lifetime. • Intimate partner violence in the U.S. is primarily a crime against women. In 2001, women accounted for 85% of the victims of intimate partner violence (588,490 total) and men accounted for approximately 15% of the victims (103,220 total). Source: Family Violence Prevention Fund, available at Accessed Nov 12, 2008.
  3. 3. Prevalence of Domestic Violence within Immigrant Populations in the U.S. Immigrant women are disproportionately represented among female victims of male-partner-perpetrated homicide. • A study in New York City found that 51% of intimate partner homicide victims were immigrants. • Recent studies with Latina, South Asian, and Korean immigrants demonstrate that 30% to 50% of these women have been sexually or physically victimized by a male intimate partner. • 12.8% of Asian and Pacific Islander women reported experiencing physical assault by an intimate partner at least once during their lifetime; 3.8% reported having been raped. Sources: 1) Raj, A. & Silverman, J. (2002). Violence against immigrant women. Violence Against Women, 8(3): 367- 398; 2) Family Violence Prevention Fund, Facts on Immigrant Women and Domestic Violence, available at Accessed Nov 12, 2008.
  4. 4. The Burden of Violence is NOT Distributed Equally Marginalized members of our society are more vulnerable to violence from individuals and the state: • Domestic Violence • Police Brutality • Deportation • Violations of Civil and Human Rights
  5. 5. Domestic Violence in the Real World Society provides different levels of protection for individuals and communities depending on: • Race • Class • Immigration Status • Sexual Orientation • Gender
  6. 6. Lack of Protection leads to Mistrust People come to mistrust governmental authorities and formal sources of help because: • Criminalization of people of color • Services that do not recognize the complex realities of people's lives • Reports regarding abuse of power are not taken seriously • People are viewed negatively rather than seen as having strengths Source: Dr. Beth Richie, University of Illinois at Chicago
  7. 7. Mistrust leads to More Abuse • Abusers know they can get away with the abuse • People experiencing abuse may delay seeking help • Cycle of Violence continues
  8. 8. The Immigrant Power and Control Wheel Interactions among individuals, culture, and laws
  9. 9. Source: National Center on Domestic and Sexual Violence
  10. 10. Types of Abuse • Physical Abuse • Threats • Intimidation • Emotional Abuse • Isolation • Economic Abuse • Using Power and Priviledge
  11. 11. Planning to Leave an Abusive Situation There are four main issues one must consider when making preparations to leave an abuser: 1. Take only those things necessary for survival. 2. Take any evidence to offer as proof of abuse. 3. If there are children in the household they also need to be kept safe. 4. Have a plan of where to go to seek help.
  12. 12. Survival Essentials Be sure to bring the following items for yourself and your children, if you have them. Please note, depending on age and immigration status, some of these may not apply to you. • Identification: Photo identification, driver's license and registration, passports, birth certificates, social security cards, green card or alien registration card, work permits. • Records: Children's school and vaccination records, welfare paperwork, medical insurance, proof of vehicle ownership, court documents, medical records. • Resources: Cash, credit cards, checkbooks, bankbooks, ATM cards, small valuables than can be pawned for cash. • Contact information: Telephone/address books, including contact information for victims' service providers and shelters. • Practical items: Clothing, your cell phone, house and car keys, small items for any children who are traveling with you. • Sentimental items: Photographs and other small items that are irreplaceable. (This is completely optional).
  13. 13. Depending on how long violence has been occurring and whether reports have been filed, you may or may not have many of these items. The more evidence you have the better, but even if you do not have many of these items, do not worry. Whatever you do have should be taken with you when you leave. • Documentation: Copies of police and/or medical reports, court protection orders, hospital records documenting treatment for injuries (even if you did not tell anyone what actually happened). • Physical evidence: Photographs of injuries, property (or photos that show) damage from violent episodes. • Testimony: Diaries or journals that record episodes of violence, contact information for medical personnel, mental health professionals. • Contact information: Telephone/address books, victims' service providers and shelters. Proof of Violence
  14. 14. Child Support Issues If you have children with your partner who remain in your sole custody, you are entitled to receive child support from their biological parent. In order to file for these benefits you will need the following information. You may be able to bring these items with you when you leave or you may petition the court to obtain them once you are safely away. • The social security number of your partner. • A copy of your partner's most recent pay stub. • Contact information for your partner's place of employment. • Copies of your partner's tax returns for the past three years (note that these may be filed jointly with you or separately). • Proof of parentage--child's birth certificate and/or any other documentation certifying biological kinship.
  15. 15. Two Options for Immigrant Women and Children: The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) & U-Visa According to the Immigrant Legal Resource Center (ILRC): "VAWA allows an abused spouse or child of a United States Citizen or Lawful Permanent Resident to self-petition for lawful status in the U.S., receive employment authorization and access health benefits. VAWA provides domestic violence survivors with the means that are essential to escaping violence and establishing safe, independent lives. ILRC has co-authored the VAWA Manual, a 14-chapter step-by-step guide to VAWA to assist advocates working on VAWA cases." "U Visa interim relief is now available for immigrant victims of certain crimes who are helpful to law enforcement in either investigation or prosecution of the crime." For more information, please visit
  16. 16. The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) Immigrant women who seek refuge under VAWA will need the following: • Work permits, visa applications, green cards, and immigration papers for herself and children • Copies of INS and ICE documents • Marriage license and certificate of marriage, also divorce papers (if applicable) • Birth certificates or other proof of paternity records for children • Identification, passports, state ID cards, social security cards • Court documents that pertain to the case • Photographs, wedding invitations, love letters • Paperwork regarding any jointly owned property or rental agreements • Proof that you and your partner resided together (bills, receipts, deeds, etc).
  17. 17. But People are Resilient! Despite the abuse people experience, they are still able to: • Go to work • Care for their families • Seek help from friends and family • Demand accountability from police and social service agencies • Cope with fear and pain • Use strategies to protect themselves and their loved ones People are strong and courageous! We can help by supporting survivors of abuse
  18. 18. Resources Emergency: Local Police, Fire Dept., Medical Care....................................................911 Social Service Organizations: Child Abuse Hotline................................................................................(800) 422-4453 National Domestic Violence Hotline........................................................(800) 799-7233 Asian Women's Shelter..........................................................................(877) 751-0880 SAKHI: For South Asian Women............................................................(212) 868-6741 Government: Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) US Citizenship & Immigration Services (800) 375-5283