Battered immigrant and refugee women in the United States have further complications by issues of gender, race socioeconomic status, immigration status and language in addition to those complications of intimate partner violence. A battered woman who is not a legal resident or whose immigrant status depends on her partner is isolated by cultural dynamics that may prevent her from leaving her husband, seeking support from local agencies that may not understand her culture or requesting assistance from an unfamiliar American legal system. Some obstacles may include a distrustful attitude toward the legal system, language and cultural barriers (that may at the least be unknown and at the worst hostile), and fear of deportation.

Abusive partners use the following tactics to abuse immigrant victims:
  • Isolation: Preventing the victim from learning English or communicating with friends, family or others from their home countries. 
  • Threats: Threatening deportation or withdrawal of petitions for legal status. 
  • Intimidation: Destroying legal documents or papers needed in this country such as passports, resident cards, health insurance or driver’s licenses. 
  • Manipulation Regarding Citizenship or Residency: Withdrawing or not filing papers for residency; lying by threatening that the victim will lose their citizenship or residency if they report the violence. 
  • Economic Abuse: Getting the victim fired from their job or calling employers and falsely reporting that the victim is undocumented. 
  • Children: Threatening to hurt children or take them away if the police are contacted. 
Source: Future Without Violence
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