Accessibilit Barriers & Resources

Accessibility: Identifying Barriers & Resources for Survivors

Domestic violence is a serious and pervasive social problem with devastating physical, psychological, and economic consequences for victims and their families. However, the severity of violence is often heightened for those living at the margins of society. Marginalized communities experience higher rates of gender-based violence than the U.S. population as a whole, and face numerous access barriers to both services and protections resulting from historic, generational, institutionalized and continued systemic oppression. Further, domestic violence is intertwined with issues related to tribal sovereignty, poverty and economic security, racial justice, LGBTQ equality, disability rights, language access, immigration status, health and mental health, and more.

Recognizing the pervasive and devastating consequences of domestic violence, communities throughout the U.S., territories and tribes have created a broad range of supports for victims and their families, including but not limited to advocacy, shelter programs, transitional housing, support groups, supervised visitation centers, counseling, and systems change efforts. The Family Violence Prevention and Services Act (FVPSA) Program, the lead federal agency providing funding support for local, state, territorial and tribal programs, expects that its grantees will ensure that all domestic violence programs and services are accessible and responsive to the diverse needs of survivors.

Even as barriers to access are discussed here in discrete sections, the multiple and intersecting identities that many survivors hold must be acknowledged – for example, being an immigrant, Black, Latina, LGBT, female, and poor or any combination – may compound access issues. Attached to any of these identities may be a history of social oppression, stereotypes that feed implicit/explicit bias, systemic discrimination, immigration status, migration experiences, language, and cultural realities that directly impact how a survivor perceives, reacts to, and reports domestic violence or seeks help.

The summaries below (coming soon!) are designed to strengthen the shared efforts of advocates, programs and communities to eliminate barriers that prevent survivors’ access to life-saving services, supports and protections.