Domestic Violence Awareness Month
October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, and while escaping a domestic-violence situation is not easy for victims, immigrant survivors of abuse face especially difficult challenges. According to the C-D-C, every minute in the U-S about 20 people are physically abused by their partner, and experts say immigrant women are especially vulnerable. Kerry Hyatt Bennett with the Indiana Coalition Against Domestic Violence says language barriers, distance from family and friends, misconceptions about U-S law and financial instability make it difficult to get away. But Hyatt Bennett says immigrant survivors of abuse can get help from the police, the courts, and other agencies. The Indiana Coalition Against Domestic Violence can connect all victims of domestic violence to interpreters, counseling, safety planning, emergency housing and legal assistance. Domestic violence includes sexual violence, economic abuse, and emotional abuse. And Hyatt Bennett says some immigrants come from cultures that accept domestic violence, and victims may harbor guilt about leaving. Hyatt Bennett says the coalition trains law enforcement, judges and others in the legal system about the complexities of immigrant domestic violence cases. She adds that offering legal relief to immigrant survivors is not fast-tracking them into citizenship. Under the Violence Against Women Act, immigrant victims of abuse can escape a batterer and protect their families without fear of deportation.
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