A new report from the The Los Angeles Times reveals that in a White House era where the risk of deportation overhangs, more and more Latinos are refusing to report domestic violence.
Reports of domestic abuse in Latino communities dropped in the first six months of 2017.
In an ideal world, the drop in reports would come from a decrease in crimes. Unfortunately, police statistics prove this is not the case. Reports in Latino communities in various cities have fallen at a much higher rate than ones reported overall. The most obvious answer, according to this report, is that the dip stems from fear. In many cases, entering a courthouses and interacting with police can be a dark reality. To add to this suspicion, the National Domestic Violence Hotline has reported a sharp increase in calls from undocumented abuse victims. The L.A. Times report also highlights an incident in Denver in which nine women abandoned files for restraining orders after immigration enforcement agents made an arrest in a city courthouse.
Victims don’t trust police and “We should all be concerned.”
Houston’s Police Chief, Art Acevedo, talked about the numbers in a news conference saying “When you see this type of data, and what looks like the beginnings of people not reporting crime, we should all be concerned.” Just this past April, Acevedo reported a 42% decrease in the number sexual assault reports from Latinos in Houston alone.
Vengeance reports of status also pose a problem for abuse victims.
It’s not uncommon for abusers to make deportation threats against their victims to keep them from speaking out. This past February a transgender woman went to a courthouse to file an order against her abuser. When she left, ICE agents took her into custody. County Attorney Jo Anne Bernal made the claim she’d been outed by her abuser.
More and more victims might perceive their routes to safety as blocked off, but there’s still hope.
— Spooky Mane ? (@FeeTheGoat) July 16, 2017
In spite of today’s political climate, victims should know that plenty of organizations are still there for them. Even more empowering, that they have rights. For undocumented victims of abuse, two remedies to their situation remain open. The first lies in the Violence Against Women Act. Under the law, domestic violence victims who are being abused by a citizen or a permanent resident have the ability to apply for green cards. Undocumented victims are also able to apply for U visas. In this case victims of a crime must be willing to work with law enforcement throughout an investigation.
If you’re a victim of domestic violence, know that there are also various sources for you to reach out to. The National Domestic Violence Hotline is a confidential service that can connect you with shelter as well as domestic violence advocates and lawyers in your community.