HUNTSVILLE, Ala. — Domestic violence victims often have a hard time seeking help, and if they're foreign born, there is an added layer that may prevent many from doing so. Nicole Baltazar, community director for AshaKiran knows this can be difficult for most.
"Foreign born victims face an extra layer of abuse," Baltazar said. "Where they can be threatened by their status, and what not, and they can be held hostage in a way so, there's an added layer in that sense and there's also the added layer of the language."
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October is domestic violence awareness month and AshaKiran is doing their part to help the foreign-born community know their options. Fear of criminal charges or deportation is one big fear that haunts the community, but Baltazar says it's simply not true.
"It is extremely important that survivors and victims of domestic abuse, know that, even if they are not a citizen, or do not have to have proper legal status in this country, they have rights to be attended to through crisis services," Baltazar said. "The other part of that component is that they fear that reaching out may take them to alert the police or the authorities for deportation, that is not the case, that is simply not the case. On the contrary, especially, in our organization, we seek to at least do the initial steps for them to have a legal status that will allow them to be here and survive here and regain that independence."
Services are offered to those in need in more than 50 languages.
"We offer services for people that need to get out of the house and need to have a secure roof over their head by offering shelter," Baltazar stated. "We also offer, outside of the shelter, counseling and case management. Along with these services is interpreting services. We have a language access line where when you call us through the crisis line, and we can connect you to interpreters."
This Domestic Violence Awareness Month, AshaKiran shines a light on this issue by joining in a Human Chain Event on Saturday, October 15th, 2022, at 3:45 pm to simultaneously recite a pledge and break the silence of domestic violence from 3pm - 4:30pm at Big Spring Park West in the heart of Huntsville.
If you or some you know is facing a domestic abuse situation, call 800-793-3010.