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Evaluating services for immigrant and refugee families who experience abuse
  1. L M Olson*,
  2. A Parekh
  1. Correspondence Department of Paediatrics, University of Utah, PO box 581289 Salt Lake City, Utah 84158-1289, USA


Introduction Surveys from around the world indicate that 10% to 69% of women experience violence from an intimate male partner. We evaluated the Family Justice Center (FJC), a confidential walk in centre with co- located services supporting families experiencing abuse concentrating on the experiences of refugee and immigrant families.

Methods Four structured focus groups with English, Spanish and Arabic speaking women.

Results Before visiting the FJC, participants felt apprehensive, confused, scared and unsure how to stop the abuse. Participants expressed that domestic violence was normal and the abuse should be tolerate and hope that the abuser will change. After receiving services, participants reported feeling empowered, knowledgeable and more secure. We are women with needs that should be met; we should be entitled to those resources regardless of race, or legal status. It shouldn't hold us back from seeking protection. Participants needed and recognised the diverse array of services offered at the FJC. A lot of people speak different languages or can't read or write in English. I feel more secure and have more direction (after visiting the FJC). Participants reported receiving help with protective orders, child support, housing, translation of legal and other documents and group counselling. Most participants reported following a safety plan including escape routes and packing a bag with essentials.

Conclusions The information is an important first step in understanding issues facing immigrant and refugee families and provides a basis to modify and continue services including translation to meet the changing needs of the community.

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