Conference Addresses Immigrant Abuse

LAS VEGAS -- Dealing with abuse, while worrying about deportation is a reality facing more and more women and men who are victims domestic violence. Tuesday, professionals from all over the state who work with immigrant victims met to share tools on ways to get immigrants to report abuse.

The number one threat to immigrant domestic violence victims is fear of deportation. So they go without reporting their abuse.

There are resources out there, like the U-Visa. Immigrants who suffer from domestic abuse can apply for this visa and it's given to victims of crime. Domestic violence is considered a crime, so they can apply and stay in the states for being a victim.

There is help through the Welfare Department if victim's are parents.

"Even if she doesn't have documents, she can go to the Welfare Department and ask for help. And if she's asked if she has legal papers, all she needs to do is say, 'I am here to ask for help for my kids, not for me,'" said Ivette Barreres.

Barreres moved to the United States from Mexico 13 years ago and now works with abuse victims, specifically immigrant abuse victims.

Through Safe Nest, Barreres helps victims navigate through the legal system and explains to them that deportation is not a threat when it comes to reporting any type of abuse.

The conference drew in providers who work with victims from across state. Leslye Orloff was a presenter, and says immigrant victims suffer more severe abuse with more long-term consequences than to other survivors.

"We've seen cases of women working in employment situations where they are constantly being sexually harassed, raped, etcetera, and when they complain, they get fired. And then they bring in a whole other group of people," she said.

Orloff worked with Congress on immigration provisions in the Violence Against Woman Act that allows immigrant woman who are abused to file their own immigration papers confidentially without the abusers knowledge or help.

Culture also has a lot to with not reporting abuse. For some, they feel it is ok for their husbands to control them and control the money, which eventually leads to abuse.

The statewide abuse hotline has people who can direct immigrant victims to case workers who speak their language. That number is 1-800-500-1556. The conference was organized through the Nevada Network Against Domestic Violence.


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