Preventing Violence Against Latinx Immigrants in the U.S.
May 26, 2023
In 2020, Assistant Professor Andrea Wirtz and Associate Professor Kathleen Page sought to better understand interpersonal experiences of violence in the Latinx community, which, to-date, has largely focused on intimate partner violence experienced by women.
With support from the Initiative, the researchers conducted one focus group of five participants and 17 in-depth interviews. All participants were from the Baltimore-Washington DC area, 70% were women, and most had immigrated from Mexico or Central America. Interview participants ranged in age from 21-42 years.
The team found that participants experienced discrimination as well as diverse types and severity of violence while living in the United States, including intimate partner violence, workplace violence, and community violence. While experiences differed by gender, much of this violence was perpetrated by exploiting power imbalances associated with participants’ immigration and documentation status. Perceived risks associated with one’s documentation status, limited access to bilingual information regarding rights and services, and discrimination were salient barriers to accessing justice and health services. Most importantly, the findings highlight several areas for intervention across sectors.
These findings are being incorporated in study questionnaires for improved measurement of violence victimization, while findings related to remote research are being used for new research to support access to COVID-19 testing for the Latinx immigrant community in Baltimore City. Finally, researchers have shared their findings with policymakers and local news media serving the Latinx community.
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