Date: Thursday, March 30, 2017
Time: 12:00 - 1:30pm (Central)
Intimate Partner Violence (IPV) is a serious public health issue and affects the lives of millions of persons in the U.S and worldwide. The lack of legal immigration status is often used as a tool of power and control in IPV against women. Legislation and social policies at the federal level such as the U.S. Violence Against Women Act (VAWA 2000) and the Victim of Trafficking and Violence Prevention Act (VTVPA 2000) created the U-Visa, a special nonimmigrant visa for people who have been victims of certain crimes, including domestic violence. The goal is to provide support for vulnerable immigrant women who might lack legal documentation and are victims of IPV. This presentation will discuss the results of an in-depth, qualitative study of 15 Latina U-Visa recipients who are survivors of IPV and 5 service providers. The collaborative study was with community- and faith-based organizations, including Catholic Charities, Latina Resources Center, Women’s Center for Advancement, Juan Diego Center and Justice for our Neighbors in Omaha, and the University of Nebraska Medical Center, College of Public Health. The aim of this study of was to better understand the experience of Latinas who have their U-Visa and have been victims of domestic violence. While obtaining legal documentation is critical to becoming economically self-sufficient, a better understanding of the opportunities and challenges that women might face will provide researchers and social service providers with the necessary evidence to design effective public health interventions to meet the needs of women as they move towards emotional, social and economic stability.
• Explain the U-Visa and who might qualify for the visa
• Describe the benefits and challenges in obtaining the U-Visa
• Identify steps that can be taken to help survivors navigate the process of obtaining the U-Visa
• List key services needed among recipients of the U-visa as they rebuild their lives and move towards economic and emotional stability
Presenters: Shireen Rajaram, Ph.D., University of Nebraska Medical Center; Maria Mendoza, Justice for Our Neighbors - Nebraska
Shireen Rajaram,Ph.D., is an Associate Professor in the Department of Health Promotion in the College of Public Health at the University of Nebraska Medical Center. She was the former Director of the Center for Reducing Health Disparities at the University of Nebraska Medical Center. Her research interests include domestic violence, human trafficking, gender and racial/ethnic health disparities.
Maria Mendoza is the Access to Justice Legal Representative at Justice For Our Neighbors-Nebraska. In her role she supports the Domestic Violence Managing Attorney as well as manages a caseload of her own. She also provides education to law enforcement agencies on immigration benefits available to victims of crime. Maria graduated magna cum laude from the University of Nebraska Omaha with a bachelor’s in criminology and criminal justice with a minor in political science. She is fluent in English and Spanish.