Resources For Immigrants
What does immigration have to do with domestic violence?
Language and cultural barriers may also make it difficult for some immigrant survivors to understand their rights and access to services.
Everyone deserves a healthy relationship!
What is Domestic Violence?
Domestic violence is a pattern of abusive behavior toward another person in an effort to gain and maintain power and control over them. Most often, the abusive person is a current or former spouse or dating partner. It can also be someone who has cohabitated with the victim, such as a family member or roommate or a caretaker, such as someone caring for an elderly relative.
Abuse doesn’t always look the same but some things to consider are:
This can include shouting, name-calling or making belittling remarks. It can also include jealousy, gaslighting, or even giving the silent treatment.
This can include things such as hitting, shoving, slapping, throwing of objects at the survivor, use of weapons or threats of self-harm.
Isolation is commonplace in abusive relationships. If your partner says you can’t leave the house or prevents you from seeing or speaking with family or friends, this is a way to isolate you from others. If they steal your keys to keep you from leaving or tries to convince you to quit school or work, they are actively working to cut you off from others, potentially shrinking your support system. You should be allowed to have friends, visit family, and do things that you enjoy, without fear of how your partner will react.
Threats may be toward children or other family members. The abusive person may threaten your friends, or even your pets. They may also make threats that are harder for others to understand. For example, maybe the abusive person doesn’t threaten to harm your children, but threatens to take them away from you.
Sexual coercion – This can include unwanted sexual advances or forced sexual acts. If someone isn’t in the mood to have sex, that should be respected, regardless of their gender. Sexual coercion can also include withholding sex to control your partner. Again, if someone isn’t in the mood, it’s important to respect that, but if your partner refuses to have sex unless you do things that you’re uncomfortable with, that’s not okay. A couple of examples are: refusing to have protected sex/removing or forcing you to remove a condom, or withholding sex unless you agree to cancel plans with friends. Sex should never be used as a means to control someone.
Stalking isn’t just following someone around. Stalking includes (but isn’t limited to): unwanted contact like phone calls, texts, and contact via social media, unwanted gifts, showing up/approaching an individual or their family/friends, monitoring, surveillance, property damage, and threats
This could be demanding money or credit cards. It could be restricting how you’re allowed to spend money. It could be mismanaging money and lying about it or ruining your credit. Financial abuse is real and can have devastating consequences.
Legal abuse can look different depending on the circumstances. Legal abuse can be the abusive person filing excessive motions in court, to force the victim/survivor to miss work/school and/or pay excessive attorney’s fees. Legal abuse can be the theft, withholding of or destruction of legal documents or papers like passports, resident cards, health insurance, or driver’s license. This can be devastating to immigrant survivors.
If you read over this list and recognized some of the behaviors, please consider calling our hotline at 860.763.4542 to speak with an advocate. All languages are supported.
What Should I Know?
Under U.S. law, any crime victim, regardless of immigration or citizenship status, can call the police for help. All people in the United States (regardless of race, color, religion, sex, age, ethnicity, national origin or immigration status) are guaranteed protection from abuse under the law. Any victim of domestic violence, regardless of immigration or citizenship status, can seek help. An immigrant victim of domestic violence may also be eligible for immigration related protections.
According to the International Labor Organization, migrant workers and indigenous people are particularly vulnerable to forced labor. (ILO, 2017) If you believe that you or someone you know is a victim of human trafficking, please read more on our human trafficking page.
The Abuse Rates Among Immigrant Women are as high as 49.8%, this is three times the national average.
What Kind of Help Is Available?
For individuals in immediate danger, please call 911.
If you or someone you know is an immigrant who is experiencing domestic violence, help is available. Call our 24-hour hotline at 860.763.4542. Our certified domestic violence advocates are here to listen, discuss your options, and help you to figure out your next steps.
According to U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services, they administer two immigration benefits that encourage victims to come forward and work with law enforcement and other certifying agencies.
It’s important to know that eligibility for both T and U visas generally requires the victim to assist or cooperate with law enforcement in the detection, investigation, or prosecution of human trafficking or qualifying criminal activity. For T visas, there are some exceptions and exemptions to this requirement where the victim was under 18 years of age at the time of victimization or suffers physical or psychological trauma. For U visas, there are some exceptions and special rules for those under 16 years of age and victims who are incompetent or incapacitated. For more information, refer to U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services website.
What Can I Do For Myself?
Abuse happens in all types of relationships. If you are being abused, it’s nothing to be ashamed of. There are some steps you can take to increase your safety and/or make leaving the abusive situation easier. If you need to talk to someone about it, help is available. Our 24-hour hotline number is 860.763.4542.