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Way back in 1990, the country had initiated Violence against Women Act (VAWA) to fight back social issues like domestic violence, abuse, human trafficking and other kinds of crimes happening in the society. There was another initiation in the name of Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA).
The intention of making the Acts
These acts were made with an intention of protecting people who would be dependent on the perpetrators and their legal status is not so strong. These laws are in place so that they can seek police help without going through the fear of being deported. Such acts are there so that immigrants, legal or illegal can report any case regarding domestic violence or abuse to the legal bodies and can seek justice.
The barriers for the immigrants
Immigrants face a series of barriers for reporting a case violence or abuse against them. And they majorly are related to language, isolation and even non-availability of adequate support from society. The difference in culture of the USA and the immigrant’s native country also is a deterring factor. Art from these, the major hindrance is economic depended of the victim on the person who abuses her. The fact of the victims being unaware of the legal support and the law framed in the country for their protection is an important factor. They are found to be suffering from the fear of being deported if they are present in the country on illegal mode.
A partner of a law firm Wissleman, Haounian and Associates, P.C. says that “it takes immigrants longer to take the first step for ending domestic violence”.
He also believes that they take years to get accustomed to the culture and society in US.
Scott Kessler, Assistant Director of Queens and bureau of the Domestic Violence Bureau believes that victims of domestic violence are afraid to stand against their pain-giver because they are generally the one who sponsor for their citizenship in US.
Options for victims
VAWA allows the victim women to apply for their residency even if they lodge a report against their perpetrators. A victim can also expect to get a temporary work authorization so that they can become financially independent. Eventually they can apply for residency after they have come out of the clutches of their abusers, even if it is the husband.
They can also take help of U-Visa which provides immigration status to those who are non-citizens and are helping to investigate certain nature of crimes.
A victim of domestic violence in USA is provided with a large number of options to leave their abusers and lead a healthy and happy life. All they need to do is to look for them and then choose pick the step they are comfortable with. They need not continue with an oppressive situation in life merely due to the fear of being deported back. After they are free from the violence they can always apply for residency status and lead a life with respect.