Shelters must be accessible to all, but many shelters may not even be aware that certain populations cannot access their services. This section aims to help DV advocates change or enhance their services so that any survivor who is in need of a safe space feels that they are welcome and that the services and supports that are provided are culturally relevant. Differences of race, ethnicity, citizenship status, age, language, ability, gender identity, and sexual orientation should not be obstacles to receiving high quality services.
"Advocacy with and support services for women who are dealing with domestic violence needs to be better connected to advocacy and organizing against other oppressions." - Action for Social Change (NRCDV, 2005)
Each of the Culturally-Specific Institutes of the Domestic Violence Resource Network are funded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to inform and strengthen domestic violence intervention and prevention efforts at the individual, community, and societal levels.
"...The intersection of racial discrimination and economic inequity created obstacles that often inhibit the ability of women of color to access domestic violence services. Often, distorted societal images of women from marginalized groups create another layer of complexity when victims of domestic violence seek help." - New Jersey Coalition for Battered Women, 2006
"Although domestic violence victims share common experiences with violence, the psychological, emotional, emotional, spiritual, economic, legal and social service needs of victims vary from culture to culture. We can only offer effective assistance to an abuse victim if we address her needs in her own cultural context and tailor relief to meet her needs." - Legal Momentum, 1998
"Older victims may be abused by intimate partners, adult children, grandchildren or other family members, caregivers or others in positions of authority. In a majority of cases, the perpetrator is the victim’s family member, most often an intimate partner" (Acierno et al., 2009; Lifespan of Greater Rochester, 2011).
"If there is such a high rate of violence against persons with disabilities, why is the rate of domestic violence services to those individuals so low?" - Washington State Coalition Against Domestic Violence, June 2003
The NRCDV Access Initiative: Documenting our progress towards greater accessibility
The Access Initiative represented NRCDV’s organizational commitment to accessibly and individuals with disabilities. This resource page describes the story of the Access Initiative, offers definitions of key terms, provides an overview of our key activities and accomplishments, and offers lessons learned and recommendations
The Language Access & Interpretation Project of the Asian & Pacific Islander Institute on Domestic Violence offers a comprehensive resource guide and free technical assistance and training through their Interpretation Technical Assistance & Resource Center (ITARC).
"The myth that partner abuse does not occur in LGBTQ communities can cause LGBTQ survivors to question their experiences and may deter them from seeking services. Domestic violence programs can contradict this myth and validate LGBTQ survivors' experiences by becoming inclusive of LGBTQ survivors and providing services and outreach that raise awareness about abuse in LGBTQ communities." - The Network/La Red, 2011