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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 and continued systemic oppression. Clearly, domestic violence is intertwined with issues related to tribal sovereignty, poverty and economic security, racial justice, LGBTQ equality, disability rights, immigration status, health and mental health, and more.

Recognizing the pervasiveness and devastating consequences of domestic violence, communities throughout the country 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.

Importantly, while we discuss these access barriers summaries in discrete sections, we must acknowledge the multiple and intersecting identities that many survivors hold – for example, being immigrant, Black, Latina, LGBT and female, poor or any combination – that may compound access issues. Attached to any of these identities may be a history of social oppression, stereotypes feeding 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 and seeks help.

We hope the summaries below strengthen our shared efforts to eliminate barriers that prevent survivors’ access to life-saving services, supports and protections.


List of Topics

American Indian and Alaska Native Survivors (4 p.) by author (2009)
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African American Survivors and Survivors from the African Diaspora (4 p.) by author (2009)
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Asian and Pacific Island Survivors (4 p.) by author (2009)
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Latin@ Survivors in the United States (4 p.) by author (2009)
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Immigrant Survivors (4 p.) by author (2009)
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Refugee Survivors (4 p.) by author (2009)
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Survivors with Limited English Proficiency (LEP) (4 p.) by author (2009)
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LGBTQ Survivors (4 p.) by author (2009)
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Charged Incarcerating and Reentering Survivors (4 p.) by author (2009)
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Survivors with Mental Health or Substance Use Needs (4 p.) by author (2009)
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Abused Parents with Children (4 p.) by author (2009)
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Teen Survivors (4 p.) by author (2009)
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Older Survivors of Abuse (4 p.) by author (2009)
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Male Survivors (4 p.) by author (2009)
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Survivors with Disabilties (4 p.) by author (2009)
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