Serving Communities

Serving Diverse and Underserved Communities

There are unique challenges to all victims of domestic abuse and sexual assault. Certain populations including, but not limited to, the following:  Hmong. Hispanic, African American, LGBTQTI,  hearing impaired/deaf, older women, men, victims in rural communities, and those with other disabilities often face additional challenges in accessing services because of culture, gender, race or sexual orientation. It is our goal to provide services sensitive to each victim and the barriers and challenges they face. We know that abuse knows no barriers and each situation is different.

Some of the cultural pressures that can present barriers to leaving or reporting abuse may consist of the following.

Hmong women

  • Unwilling to share domestic violence with members who aren’t Hmong
  • Strict gender roles that define women’s place in the family
  • Fear of homicide
  • Fear of being cast out of family/clan
  • Afraid to undress in front of others
  • Uncomfortable with communal living in a shelter
  • Economic dependency on abuser/family
  • Fear losing their children

African American women

  • May have past experience with racial injustice in the criminal system
  • May be perceived as disloyal to the black community
  • May be perceived by others as “bad” if she reports the abuse and it becomes public

Hispanic women

  • If undocumented, may fear deportation and separation from children
  • Feel they can’t earn enough to support their children
  • Faith doesn’t accept divorce
  • Cultural roles of mother and wife place the woman in a more submissive position

Older women

  • May be abused or neglected by their partners or caretakers
  • May have limited access to transportation or are unable to drive
  • May be diagnosed with dementia and are less likely to be believed
  • Feel financially dependent and vulnerable

Lesbian/gays/transsexuals

  • Are afraid of being “outed” or of homophobic reactions
  • Have difficulty finding support services
  • Feel isolated within the community
  • Fear loss of job or home when they are “outed”
  • May be denied civil protection orders because of their sexual orientation
  • Fear losing their children

Men

  • Gender stereotypes make it hard for a male to admit he is being abused or to seek help.
  • Men feel they are stronger and more able to defend themselves.
  • Men are encouraged not to cry or show emotion.
  • Men are traditionally viewed as the breadwinners, responsible for the care of their family.

Deaf/Hard of hearing

  • May feel socially isolated
  • Feel services for the hearing impaired are not widely available
  • Have to rely on others to communicate their story to the advocates

Victims in rural areas

  • May have limited phone and/or transportation services
  • May experience long response times for emergency services
  • May be part of a farm family, often with one income
  • May be an integral part of a family farm business and worried the business will fail if they leave their abuser