Photo: Casa de Esperanza
In coordination with Casa de Esperanza’s Inaugural National Latin@ Network Policy Summit on Domestic Violence, Casa de Esperanza and the National Domestic Violence Hotline released a ground breaking study that revealed language barriers and accessibility issues for Latin@ victims experiencing violence, in addition to the negative impact of law enforcement involvement with federal immigration enforcement.
The report, “Realidades Latinas: A National Survey on the Impact of Immigration and Language Access,” was released during Casa de Esperanza’s Inaugural Policy Summit on September 19th in Washington, DC.
With support from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the National Domestic Violence Hotline administered the survey to over 1,300 Latinas who called the Hotline over a six-week period.
The survey report, Realidades Latinas: A National Survey on the Impact of Immigration and Language Access, revealed some obstacles and challenges faced by immigrant survivors. In particular, 39% of foreign-born women surveyed reported a sense of fear in calling the police or going to court due to the current anti-immigrant climate.
This finding is especially important at a time when deportations of unauthorized immigrants have reached historic highs totaling upwards of 1.2 million deportations over the past three years, or approximately 400,000 per year.
The increase of local law enforcement involvement in federal immigration enforcement efforts has had steep consequences for victim safety and puts significant stress on Latin@ communities, regardless of immigration status.
The survey also included the finding that 31% of Spanish-speaking Latinas encountered challenges accessing domestic violence related services because of language accessibility issues.
These findings highlight how the intersection of societal factors and scarcity of community resources serve to isolate domestic violence victims in marginalized communities and places them at greater risk.
Due to the shift in immigration enforcement policies along with continued issues in accessing services, Latino communities are at great risk for returning to a time when families were left to deal with domestic violence alone.
The report concludes with a discussion of policy and training implications in addition to recommendations to ensure that all survivors regardless of immigration status or English proficiency are safe.