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National Latina Network

español | English

In light of recent immigration enforcement policies, the apprehension to call the police due to the fear of deportation has become more salient for many Latina survivors.

  • Immigrant Latinas may fear deportation while seeking help from social services6.
  • In a recent study, immigrant Latina survivors reported a decrease in the likelihood of calling the police due to heightened immigration enforcement policies and increased fear of deportation26.
  • Latina survivors report that immigration status is often used as a control mechanism to ensure that they do not leave the abusive situation19.
  • Immigration status is a common and powerful control mechanism used by partners of immigrant women to force them to stay in a relationship6.
  • The strength of this control tool is amplified by the current realities of heightened deportation and immigration enforcement26.
  • A survey of over 500 foreign-born Latina women found that 14% of participants reported experiencing problems in accessing IPV services due to immigration issues, some reporting they were denied IPV services for lack of proper identification3.
  • Threatening Latina survivors to take away their children if they leave their partners was an especially powerful strategy used by men against undocumented, non-English speaking women10.

In addition to immigration, studies have found that language and cultural differences act as significant barriers to Latina survivors’ ability to access services.

  • There is little awareness of IPV services and options among Latina survivors32.
    • Women report a lack of knowledge about available resources in the community as a common barrier to services17.
    • Less than 3 in 10 Latinas had heard of IPV protective orders. Not many knew about local domestic violence agencies16.
  • Lack of culturally and linguistically appropriate services is also a barrier for many Latina survivors, as it is for women from many other racial/ethnic groups.
    • A study found that 1 in 3 shelters did not have any Spanish-speaking staff.
    • Only half of the participating shelters offer child-related services.
    • Additionally, many of the problems stemming from diverse cultural values were not respected and went unresolved12