Domestic violence among undocumented Hispanic immigrant couples: an ecological solution to the problem (Powerpoint)
Each year, thousands of abused Hispanic immigrant women struggle to balance their personal safety with competing goals such as family unity, financial security, and cultural loyalty. While domestic violence poses difficulties for all women who want to seek help, immigration status can create additional obstacles for abused women who want to escape domestic abuse. When both she and her partner are undocumented, an immigrant women must consider a wide range of repercussions before she can decide whether or not to report domestic violence to the police or to seek help from social services. One of the goals of this research is to document the various environmental factors which hinder or improve an immigrant woman's chance of receiving help for domestic violence. In particular, this presentation tries to assess the factors which discourage or encourage undocumented Hispanic immigrant women from seeking help against domestic violence committed by their undocumented, male Hispanic partners. Some of the supportive factors may include bilingual social services, community-based violence prevention programs, and domestic violence laws which afford immigration relief to undocumented victims of domestic abuse. Some factors which discourage immigrant women from seeking help include cultural sanctioning of domestic violence, lack of knowledge about social services, and legal remedies which do not benefit the victim. In addition to assessing the factors which encourage and discourage help-seeking after domestic violence has occurred this research analyzes the factors which affect whether or not domestic violence happens in the first place. In order to recommend policies which will target at-risk groups of Hispanics, this presentation identifies risk factors which increase the likelihood that an undocumented Hispanic man will become an abuser and risk factors which increase the likelihood that an undocumented Hispanic woman will become a victim of domestic violence. After citing risk factors, this presentation describes how social programs can remove or ameliorate those risk factors so as to prevent domestic violence.