With awareness about domestic violence becoming more prevalent during the COVID-19 pandemic, there are other factors that can increase the risks of domestic violence. Specifically, a community that is at a heightened risk are immigrant communities.
There are multiple reasons as to why immigrant communities are more at risk of being victims of domestic violence. These reasons vary from language barriers, to the constant fear of deportation.
"Immigrant survivors often choose not to report incidents of abuse out of fear of immigration consequences," according to the National Domestic Violence Hotline. "Immigration status may interfere with their ability to access support services as well."
With the lack of help from their community and area of living, this places even more of a barrier on immigrant communities when it comes to finding help.
Abusers who are citizens or lawful permanent residents may even use this information about the undocumented immigrant victims as another violent tool to blackmail, threaten or have an extra hold on the victim.
Whether it is a threat to deport them, or even a threat to say their relationship is a fraud, these cases are extremely common. Thankfully, Congress has created routes to status that can help immigrants abused by a U.S. citizens or permanent residents.
"Through VAWA, an abused immigrant can self-petition for legal permanent residence or can get a battered spouse waiver to remove the abusive spouse from the process of changing a conditional green card to a ten-year green card," according to WomensLaw.org.
Knowing your rights is important, but raising awareness about these rights is even more important. Spreading the word may save someones life.
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Abuse in Immigrant Communities. The Hotline. (2021, June 2). https://www.thehotline.org/resources/abuse-in-immigrant-communities/.
Abuse in Immigrant Communities. WomensLaw.org. (2021, March 16). https://www.womenslaw.org/about-abuse/abuse-specific-communities/abuse-immigrant-communities.