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Experiences of Immigrant Women Who Self-Petition Under the Violence Against Women Act

NCJ Number
Violence Against Women Volume: 16 Issue: 8 Dated: August 2010 Pages: 858-880
Date Published
August 2010
23 pages
This article reviews current research on the challenges facing immigrant women in abusive relationships, document the experiences of Mexican immigrant women who have applied for legal status under current immigration law, and propose a model for a coordinated community response to meet the needs of this population.

Undocumented immigrant women who are abused and living in the United States are isolated in a foreign country, in constant fear of deportation, and feel at the mercy of their spouse to gain legal status. To ensure that immigration law does not trap women in abusive relationships, the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA, 1994) enabled immigrant women to self-petition for legal status. Qualitative research methods were used in this participatory action research to investigate the experiences of Mexican immigrant women filing VAWA self-petitions. Emotional, financial, and logistic barriers in applying are identified, and recommendations for practice research and policy are provided. Figure and references (Published Abstract)

Date Published: August 1, 2010