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Cultural Issues Affecting Domestic Violence Service Utilization in Ethnic and Hard to Reach Populations, Executive Summary

NCJ Number
Date Published
8 pages
This is an executive summary of a study into cultural issues affecting use of domestic violence services in ethnic and hard-to-reach populations.
The study examined access to and satisfaction with domestic violence (DV) services for certain women in Seattle (King County), WA, and the cultural experience of DV for women from specific ethnic groups and the lesbian/bisexual/transsexual (LBT) community in Seattle. Across the groups, survivors described personal feelings of shame and humiliation, belief that abuse is "normal," a commitment to keeping the family together, lack of economic resources, inability to speak English, a feeling that they had nowhere to go, few economic resources on which to draw and difficulty finding out about culture- and language-specific DV services in Seattle. In addition, women from immigrant and refugee communities reported pressure not to go outside the family or community with what was considered a private family matter. The study includes 20 recommendations for improving responsiveness to ethnic minority women and LBT individuals, presented in systems, service and community levels. They include: (1) providing additional specialized training and skill development for child welfare workers with particular attention to differences in family dynamics and parenting styles across cultures; (2) developing multiple strategies for outreach in non-mainstream communities; (3) providing counseling, recreational activities, and community support for youth to develop healthy relationships; and (4) providing information to women about their right to live without violence, how to get help for DV and how the law can help to protect them.

Date Published: January 1, 2000