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Domestic violence prevention remains difficult in minority communities


New Paltz, NY – As the 2010 Census data shows growing population numbers for minorities in the Hudson Valley, there's also a bigger struggle to keep up outreach for minority victims of domestic violence and domestic abuse. WAMC's Hudson Valley Bureau Chief Greg Fry reports...

Domestic violence is a problem that can affect anyone, regardless of race, age, or gender. But within minority communities, different factors can make the problem harder to solve. Kathy Graham, is the Director of Battered Women Services for Family Services. She points to confusion over language and cultural differences as two obstacles.

Overcoming these obstacles can often depend on the resources available, but with the steady increase of different cultures and languages, it has become difficult for some facilities to keep up. Amy Barasch is the Executive Director for the New York State Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence. She says there are issues over resources, and even issues facing those who are not literate.

Barasch says that an abuser will use any tool necessary to maintain power, and immigration status is one of those tools. Many undocumented victims fear calling the police or seeking other forms of help due to their immigration status.

According to Barasch, the police understand not to question the immigration status of a victim of domestic abuse, unless they are suspected of another crime.

Judy Lombardi, the Director of Outreach and Support Services for the Grace Smith House in Poughkeepsie, says she has never seen a case where an undocumented victim of domestic violence was deported.

But, after the situation is resolved, undocumented victims do often have a harder time getting back on their feet.

Though non-profit organizations are struggling to keep up with the growing diversity in the populations they serve, Barasch says it's an evolutionary process, and one that takes time.

NYS Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence