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Calls to Police and Police Response: A Case Study of Latina Immigrant Women in the USA

NCJ Number
International Journal of Police Science & Management Volume: 7 Issue: 4 Dated: Winter 2005 Pages: 230-244
Nawal H. Ammar; Leslye E. Orloff; Mary Ann Dutton; Giselle Aguilar-Hass
Date Published
15 pages
Utilizing the experiences of battered Latina immigrant women who had contacted police for assistance in potentially violent situations, this study examined the factors leading battered immigrant Latina women to call police for assistance and barriers that exist for these women seeking help from law enforcement.
Eight factors were identified as significant and thereby important in understanding the motivating factors leading battered immigrant Latina women to call the police for help from their intimate violent partner; these were: the length of time the women had lived in the United States; their current involvement in an intimate relationship; the immigration status of the women; the severity of violence experienced; the frequency of the battering; previous experience with injury; children’s exposure to violence; and the existence of predominantly female support systems. A battered immigrant Latina woman’s legal status and her children’s exposure to domestic violence were the most significant factors leading to the calling of the police. Policing strategies in responding to intimate violence problems in immigrant populations do not reflect a careful understanding of the factors that contribute to battered immigrant women’s willingness to call the police. Generally, police do not treat the call from the battered immigrant women seriously or appropriately. One of the key reasons is the lack of communication due do the language barrier. To foster better conditions that motivate battered immigrant women to call the police in a domestic violence situation, it is recommended that law enforcement utilize officers who speak the languages of the various immigrant communities. Interpreters should be made available to police departments. Law enforcement should be trained to assist immigrant victims under new laws, such as those included under the Violence Against Women Act, 2000. Table, references


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