Impacts of Domestic Violence on People of Color

People of all races, ethnicities, and economic situations experience domestic violence. Yet historic trauma, institutional oppression and discrimination—often causing high levels of poverty—have created the conditions for people of color to be especially vulnerable to domestic violence. These conditions also create big challenges related to employment, childcare, transportation and housing when survivors of color try to leave an abusive relationship. African Americans and Native Americans also experience higher rates of domestic violence homicide than other groups.

Negative experiences with law enforcement and the criminal justice system, including high rates of incarceration for people of color, may mean that survivors of color are less likely to rely upon these systems at times of crisis and danger. When they do turn to the police or the court, they may face additional violence and disrespect. It can also be difficult for survivors of color to find support services and medical care that are culturally sensitive and geared toward breaking down the greater barriers they face.

When survivors of color are also immigrants—with or without legal status—fear of deportation or harassment, and lack of interpreter services, may cause them to avoid turning to the police or other agencies for help.

Some communities of color and tribes have developed culturally relevant domestic violence prevention and support programs, as well as practices to hold abusers accountable. These draw on shared values, histories and cultural traditions specific to each group.

New Beginnings welcomes survivors of all races and ethnicities, regardless of immigration status. Our priority is to provide high quality, culturally sensitive services that are respectful, supportive and equitable. We can also refer survivors of color to culturally specific agencies when that is the preferred option.