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Social Justice and Community Engagement


The purpose of this exploratory and qualitative research was to better understand the personal experiences of visible minority immigrant women seeking help with domestic violence in Southern Ontario, Canada. Over the course of two months, I interviewed two survivors of domestic violence and three professionals about their personal and professional experiences on the issue of domestic violence impacting visible minority immigrant women. A gender-based analysis of the participants’ narratives revealed that a number of diversity-related axis such as, gender, visible minority, immigrant status and economic status influenced women’s experiences with abuse. The results exemplify the various barriers they experience and supports that are available for visible minority immigrant women seeking help with DV, and presents several policy and practice implications. Specifically, visible minority immigrant women experiencing DV face challenges in respect to foreign credentials and employment, language, culture, isolation, and shelters. In addition, structural barriers such as the police, court, spousal sponsorship policies, legal status and fear of deportation/breakdown of sponsorship further contribute to obstacles in seeking help with DV. However, various supports were outlined as mitigating several of these barriers.