The Advocates Releases Report on the Government Response to Battered Immigrant Women in the Minneapolis/St. Paul Metropolitan Area
Friday, December 10, 2004 3:20 PM

The Advocates for Human Rights is pleased to announce the release of its report entitled, "The Government Response to Domestic Violence Against Immigrant and Refugee Women in the Minneapolis/St. Paul Metropolitan Area: A Human Rights Report."  The full text of this report and its appendices are available here.

The Advocates is releasing this report on December 10, 2004 as part of its celebration of Human Rights Day, the 56th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Through its membership in the United Nations and ratification of subsequent treaties, the United States committed itself to protecting certain fundamental rights of persons within its jurisdiction. These rights include the right to life and security of person, the right to equal protection of the laws and the right to a remedy for the violation of rights. In the last year and a half, the Women's Human Rights Program of The Advocates has investigated governmental efforts to promote and protect these rights in their response to battered immigrant women in the Minneapolis/St. Paul metropolitan area.

With this report, The Advocates highlights many of the innovative programs and legislative initiatives that advance the safety of battered refugee and immigrant women in our community and the prosecution of their abusers. The report finds that battered refugee and immigrant women in the Twin Cities area nevertheless face serious obstacles in accessing protection from domestic violence and government services, and in pursuing accountability for their abusers. These obstacles include the following:

  • language barriers and inadequate access to interpretation services;
  • barriers from within immigrant communities that impede government effectiveness;
  • fear of government institutions and immigration authorities;
  • inadequate funding of necessary services and programs;
  • delays in the provision of services;
  • ineffective screening of individuals seeking assistance;
  • poor documentation of domestic violence crimes and injuries;
  • inadequate record-keeping;
  • lack of coordination of services across government systems; and
  • limited access to culturally-specific programming.

The Advocates’ findings are derived from over 150 interviews, primarily in Hennepin and Ramsey Counties, with judges, lawyers, prosecutors, public defenders, advocates, probation officers, immigration officials, medical service providers, interpreters, child protection employees and others regarding their interaction with refugee and immigrant women who have been battered. This report includes an analysis of governments’ compliance with their obligation to protect the human rights, safety and security of refugee and immigrant women who are victims of violence. The Advocates forward to working together with community leaders to address the issues identified in the report and to improve our community’s response to battered immigrant women.