Understanding the Experiences and Help-seeking Behaviours of Ethnic Minority and Immigrant Victims of Domestic Violence in Hong Kong and the United Kingdom

 

 

Author: Puja Kapai 

Title: Understanding the Experiences and Help-seeking Behaviours of Ethnic Minority and Immigrant Victims of Domestic Violence in Hong Kong and the United Kingdom

Publication venue: Report  

Date: 2015

Summary: 

This empirical study critically examined the assumptions underlying existing laws and policies governing protection against domestic violence. Through an intersectional impact assessment and analysis of the responses of 100 participants who took part in the study, it examined how culture, race, ethnicity, religion, gender, immigration status, financial dependence and language barriers intersect to undermine the likelihood that the victims would seek help and even when they did seek help, the frontline responders’ treatment and incompetence in handling their cases effectively rendered them vulnerable to risks of future violence and resigned to a lifetime with the abuser.

 

The findings in the Study bear out the importance and indispensability of accounting for factors that impact help-seeking behavior of ethnic minority and immigrant women, including internal factors such as race, culture and religion, language barrier, and external factors such as financial dependence on their partners, immigration status, their perceptions of the legal system and frontline responders to domestic violence, and lack of relevant legal and practical knowledge. The study’s findings further identified perceptions of discrimination and the lack of culturally appropriate strategies and forms of assistance as indicators of the institutional incompetence of frontline responders on multiple levels, which often deters ethnic minority victims from seeking help from existing resources when they face domestic violence.