Online Program

Social policy and intimate partner violence: Perspectives of service providers and women survivors

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Shireen Rajaram, Ph.D., Department of Health Promotion and Social and Behavioral Health, University of Nebraska Medical Center College of Public Health, Omaha, NE
Ana Barrios, B.A., 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
Sandra Leal, Omaha, NE
Background. Women, particularly vulnerable women are at an increased risk for gender-based violence including intimate partner violence (IPV). Women’s lack of legal immigration status is often used as a tool of dominance and control of undocumented women. In the U.S., legislation and social policies such as the Victim of Trafficking and Violence Prevention Act 2000 (TVPA) have created the U-Visa to provide undocumented victims of certain crimes, including domestic violence with a special visa (U-Visa), and lawful immigration status if they are willing to assist authorities in investigating crimes. This study highlights the benefits and challenges of obtaining a U-Visa from the perspectives of service providers and Latina recipients of the U-Visa.

Methods. In this community-based participatory research study involving community leaders, service providers and academics, we collected qualitative data from 20 participants including 15 U-Visa recipients. Data were analyzed using NVivo software for key themes.

Results. Findings highlight key benefits (access to better jobs and housing, less fear and stress, freedom to travel, etc.) and challenges (long wait-time for the visa, inability to access public benefits, lack of job skills, dearth of bilingual counseling services, etc.) that women face in the process of obtaining a U-Visa. Solutions to address challenges are also presented.

Conclusion. Social policies such as VTVPA help support vulnerable women who are victims of IPV. This information will help public health practitioners and policy makers better meet the needs of Latina survivors of intimate partner violence as they maintain positive health and rebuild their lives.

Learning Areas:

Advocacy for health and health education
Diversity and culture
Public health or related laws, regulations, standards, or guidelines
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
Describe how social policies can provide support for vulnerable women such as undocumented women who are victims of intimate partner violence. Explain some of the benefits of the U-Visa from the providers and victims perspectives. Identify solutions to address barriers that women face in the U-Visa process.

Keyword(s): Domestic Violence

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 research interests include womens health, health disparities and health equity and gender based violence and sexual assault. Over the past five years, I have worked with researchers, community based organizations, and state policy makers in addressing intimate partner violence, sexual assault 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.