Like all women, immigrant women are at high risk for domestic violence, but due to their immigration status, they may face a more difficult time escaping abuse. Immigrant women often feel trapped in abusive relationships because of immigration laws, language barriers, social isolation, and lack of financial resources.

Despite recent federal legislation that has opened new and safe routes to immigration status for some immigrant women who are victims of domestic violence, abuse is still a significant problem for immigrant women, as it is for all women in the United States.

  • 51 percent of intimate partner homicide victims are foreign-born, while 45 percent are born in the United States.
  • Forty-eight percent of Latinas in one study reported that their partner’s violence against them had increased since they immigrated to the United States. A survey of immigrant Korean women found that 60 percent had been battered by their husbands.
  • Married immigrant women experience higher levels of physical and sexual abuse than unmarried immigrant women, 59.5 percent compared to 49.8 percent, respectively.
  • Abusers often use their partners’ immigration status as a tool of control. In such situations, it is common for a batterer to exert control over his partner’s immigration status in order to force her to remain in the relationship.
  • Immigrant women often suffer higher rates of battering than U.S. citizens because they may come from cultures that accept domestic violence or because they have less access to legal and social services than U.S. citizens. Additionally, immigrant batterers and victims may believe that the penalties and protections of the U.S. legal system do not apply to them.
  • Battered immigrant women who attempt to flee may not have access to bilingual services, financial assistance, or food. It is also unlikely that they will have the assistance of a certified interpreter in court, when reporting complaints to the police or a 911 operator, or even in acquiring information about their rights and the legal system. La Casa, Inc. has fully bilingual staff ready to assist. La Casa, Inc. also has Legal and Immigration Advocates on staff.

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