142nd APHA Annual Meeting and Exposition

Annual Meeting Recordings are now available for purchase

Immigration Policy as Health Policy – Women's Voices and Intimate Partner Violence

142nd APHA Annual Meeting and Exposition (November 15 - November 19, 2014): http://www.apha.org/events-and-meetings/annual
Tuesday, November 18, 2014 : 5:10 PM - 5:30 PM

Shireen Rajaram, PhD , Department of Health Promotion and Social and Behavioral Health, University of Nebraska Medical Center College of Public Health, Omaha, NE
Ana Barrios, BA , Catholic Charities’ Juan Diego Center, Omaha, NE
Elisha Novak, M.A. , Justice For Our Neighbors-Nebraska, Omaha, NE
Jossy Rogers, B.A. , Catholic Charities, Omaha, NE
Esteban Davila , Latina Resource Center (Juan Diego Center and Women's Center for Advancement), Omaha, NE
Sandra Leal , Omaha, NE
Background. Intimate Partner Violence is a serious public health issue. The lack of legal immigration status is often used as a tool of power and control in intimate partner violence 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 (TVPRA) provide support for vulnerable immigrant women who might lack legal documentation and are victims of intimate partner violence. VAWA and TVPRA created the U-Visa, a special nonimmigrant visa for people who have been victims of certain crimes, including domestic violence. It is designed to provide lawful immigration status to noncitizen crime victims who are willing to assist authorities in investigating crimes.

Methods.Using principles of community-based participatory research involving collaboration between community leaders, community-based including faith-based organizations and researchers, we conducted a qualitative study of 15 Latinas who were victims of intimate partner violence and obtained their U visa.

Results and Conclusion. Findings highlight key benefits (access to better jobs and housing, freedom to travel including international travel, etc.) and challenges (lack of skills including English language proficiency, lack of childcare, and lack of transportation) that women face before and after a U-Visa approval. This information will help social service providers and policy makers provide comprehensive services to support female survivors of intimate partner violence to ensure sustained positive health and wellbeing as they rebuild their lives.

Learning Areas:

Diversity and culture
Public health or related public policy
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
Explain how a social policy such as the Violence Against Women’s Act (2000) addresses undocumented immigrant women’s vulnerability with respect to intimate partner violence. Describe the complexity of immigrant women’s lives in terms of the intersection of multiple identities including immigration status, race/ethnicity, social class, gender, etc. Identify key services needed among recipients of the U-visa as they rebuild their lives and move towards economic and emotional stability.

Keyword(s): Domestic Violence, Latinos

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am an Associate Professor in the Department of Health Promotion in the College of Public Health (COPH) at the University of Nebraska Medical Center. My scientific interests include women’s health and the elimination of racial/ethnic health disparities. Over the past five years, I have worked with researchers, community based organizations and state policy makers in addressing sexual assault, domestic violence and sex trafficking in Nebraska.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.