5 Positive Interventions in Working with Immigrant Women Experiencing Domestic Violence
The literature informs us that immigrant women experience better outcomes for themselves when they come in contact with capable, empathetic, non-judgmental professionals (Ahmad et al., 2013; Tam et al., 2015). Immigrant women feel comfortable sharing their experiences with professionals, if they know that they will not be judged, and that confidentiality would be protected (Ahmad et al., 2013; Ahmadzai et al., 2016).
Support groups and supportive professional services can be a source of strength for racialized immigrant women experiencing domestic violence (Ahmad et al., 2013). Access to shelters or long-term housing, language classes, welfare allowances, immigration advice, legal aid, and being provided life’s essentials, like food, clothes, and school supplies for their children, can be critical for women seeking help in DV (Ahmad et al., 2013).
For immigrants, English proficiency can bring a sense of accomplishment that improves self-esteem and it can springboard the development of other skills, such as personal banking and employment skills (Ahmad et al., 2013). Language training not only facilitates language development, but can also help older immigrants develop networks of support outside of their families, obtain information, and prevent isolation (Matsuoka et al., 2012).
The importance of culturally appropriate organizations deserves highlighting. Such organizations can provide comprehensive support and advocacy in a relatable way to immigrant women and very often become a lifeline. Culturally appropriate resources are beneficial for racialized immigrant women fleeing abuse as it helps them feel understood and accepted.
Gaining help from a knowledgeable friend or a support worker is helpful when navigating supports or dealing with law officials, especially if immigrant women do not have strong English skills (Hague et al., 2010). These advocate roles or mentor roles often form organically as women find their way out of abusive situations and have a desire to help others in a similar situation.