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Steven J. Gaba, Attorney and Counselor at Law
Phone: 301-738-7770

Asian-Americans less likely to report domestic violence

A recent study published by a researcher at a major university demonstrates that cultural differences can affect how individuals react to domestic violence. According to that researcher, Maryland victims of domestic violence who are Asian-Americans may be much less likely to report incidents to law enforcement or even seek medical care for their injuries.

The study noted that Asian-Americans are the fastest growing racial group in our country, at approximately 36 percent of all immigrants in 2010. Nevertheless, they only reportedly used domestic violence mental health resources approximately 5.3 percent of the time. That, unfortunately, potentially translates into a lot of people remaining in abusive relationships from which they do not see a way out.

This number can be seen as a startling statistic when compared with Latino immigrants. That racial group made up approximately 31 percent of immigrants arriving in 2010, a lower number than Asians, but used domestic violence mental health services about 14.6 percent of the time. The research suggests that Asian-American victims do not seek care or support for incidents of domestic violence because of cultural barriers, along with a lack of culturally sensitive services.

One suggestion to help Asian-American victims of domestic violence to overcome any hesitation to seek help is to provide local hotlines equipped to take calls from Asian-Americans who speak other languages, such as Chinese or Korean. It was also noted that it would be helpful for providers to understand cultural considerations. For instance, many Asian cultures apparently view seeking help for domestic violence as shameful, not only individually but for one's family as well. It may well be that these measures may increase the numbers of Asian-Americans willing to seek help.

It's difficult enough for victims of domestic violence to seek the help that they need. Cultural barriers can certainly make it more difficult. Those suffering from domestic abuse, no matter what nationality, may benefit from knowing that they do not have to suffer alone. There is help available, in Maryland and elsewhere, and the right advice and support services could make all the difference.

Source: Psych Central News, "Asian-Americans Rarely Report Domestic Violence," Rick Nauert, July 17, 2012

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