6.2 IPV Among Immigrants and Refugees

IPV Among Immigrants and Refugees

Current literature on IPV in immigrant and refugee populations is mostly organized by either country- or by continent- of- origin. There is merit to this practice. There is merit to this practice. It allows for the possible identification of similarities and differences among individuals, couples, and families from comparable regional, cultural, and ethnic backgrounds. Furthermore, there is ample evidence that perspectives of IPV are varied throughout the world (Malley-Morrison, 2004), and that separating the literature by these boundaries allows us to group people with potentially similar worldviews.

However, we will not be using geographical demarcations to organize our review of the literature. In our review, we will highlight shared experiences across groups of immigrants, and also note experiences that are markedly different. Both the shared and divergent experiences of individuals from similar and differing immigrant and refugee groups will be highlighted. We will pay close attention will be given to findings that expose atypical or unusual trends.

IPV has serious consequences for everyone; however, there are a few unique features of IPV among immigrants and refugees. Specifically, an abusive partner of an immigrant/refugee has additional methods of control compared to United States-born couples. The partner may limit contact with families in the country-of-origin or refuse to allow them to learn English (Raj & Silverman, 2002). Both of these methods cut off social support and access to tangible resources. Additionally, abusive partners may try to control undocumented partners by threats relating to their immigration status (Erez et al., 2009; Hass et al., 2000). They might threaten to report the partner or her children to immigration officials, refuse to file papers to obtain legal status, threaten to withdraw papers filed for legal status, or restrict access to documents needed to file for legal status.