The term “immigrant women” refers to women from varied socio-cultural, economic, and education backgrounds. They are women who have lived in the U.S. for one month as well as women who have lived here for many years. They have different histories and biographies, including their experiences in their country of origin, of their journey from their home country, of the immigration process, and of living in the U.S. Many immigrant women are U.S. citizens or possess various types of immigration statuses, and some may be undocumented. This diversity among immigrant women also extends to their experiences of domestic violence.
While there are differences in domestic violence experienced by immigrant women, there may be commonalities, such as patterns of abuse, challenges, and barriers to seeking help. Similarly, domestic violence service providers may face common challenges in offering services to immigrant women survivors. These challenges and barriers could be related to the survivors’ immigration status, eligibility for public assistance, cultural practices, English language proficiency, etc. This special collection explores the complex experiences of immigrant survivors and includes resources to support their path to safety and justice. It also includes resources that help service providers respond effectively and appropriately to immigrant women who are experiencing domestic violence.
It is important to note here that several documents included in this Special Collection focus on laws and regulations related to maintaining legal immigration status, public assistance, and related matters. These laws and regulations change over time and thus, some of the documents included here may be dated or may become dated. For up-to-date resources on laws and regulations, please also consult the expert organizations listed at the end of this collection. This collection will be updated with new resources as they become available, and we welcome your comments and suggestions via VAWnet’s online contact form.
This collection was originally developed in 2009 by Sheetal Rana with the Minnesota Center Against Violence and Abuse, updated by Patty Branco and Rosie Hidalgo in April 2018 in consultation with the National Resource Center on Domestic Violence, and complements the parallel collection, Immigrant Women and Sexual Violence.