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Ethnicity & Immigration

About Domestic Violence


Domestic violence can affect people regardless of ethnicity. Some research shows that women of color, especially African-American, Hispanic, Latina, and Native women, experience more violence than other women. Sometimes victims stay in an abusive relationship, not only because of fear or finances, but because of their cultural beliefs. Culture is often used as an excuse or rationale for an abuser to be violent or controlling towards a partner. Victims may also be afraid to tell anyone in their community about the abuse because they are ashamed, embarrassed, and they may blame themselves for the abuse. If they left the abuser, then they might have to leave their ethnic community. Despite these barriers, culture can also be used as a tool of strength and healing for victims. There are several organizations on the national level that provide information from culturally-specific perspectives:


When victims of domestic violence were not born in the U.S., it can create many barriers for them. Immigration status can be used by an abuser to control and instill fear in victims. Cultural differences and language barriers can also impact victims’ ability to seek help.  Fortunately, immigrant victims of domestic violence may be eligible for certain types of immigration relief, including U and T visas, VAWA self-petitions, VAWA cancellations of removal, and gender based asylum.  These forms of relief would allow immigrant domestic violence victims to apply for citizenship status, independent of their abusers.  For more information on these types of relief, click here.  See below for a list of organizations that provide immigration related legal services for domestic violence victims in Maryland.

Esperanza Center

430 S. Broadway
Baltimore, MD 21244


Esperanza Center works to provide immigrants with healthcare, social services, referrals, language classes, and immigration legal services. Services provided: Advocacy; employment; English as a second language; healthcare services; immigration legal services; information referrals; and translation.

Adelante Familia at House of Ruth Maryland
3734 Eastern Ave.
Baltimore, MD 21224


Services provided: Case management, individual and group counseling, support, education, and advocacy for Spanish-speaking immigrants

Boat People SOS

817 Silver Spring Ave. #110, Silver Spring, MD 20910

Phone: 301-439-0505
Fax: 301-439-6644
Services provided: Immigration legal assistance, case management and referrals for Vietnamese speakers

Multi-Ethnic Domestic Violence Project of the Women’s Law Center of Maryland

111 N. Calvert Street, Room 333
Baltimore, MD 21202

Phone: (410) 396-3294
Services provided: Provides free immigration legal services to foreign born victims of domestic violence, human sex trafficking or sexual assault.

Asian Pacific American Legal Resource Center

11141 Georgia Ave. #215
Silver Spring, MD† 20902

Hotline: (202)-393-3572 (Chinese: x18; South Asian languages: x19; Vietnamese: x20; Korean: x21; Main hotline/other languages: x22)
Services provided: immigration, family law, employment law and referrals for Asian speakers (Chinese, Cantonese/Mandarin, Vietnamese, Korean, South Asian (Nepali, Hindi, Gujarati, Urdu), Tagalog and Japanese speakers

Asian/Pacific Islander Domestic Violence Resource Project (DVRP)

P.O. Box 14268, Washington, DC 20044-4268

Phone: (202) 464-4477
Services provided: Advocacy, peer support, safety planning, legal and social service resources, community outreach, technical assistance program for Asians/Pacific Islanders


1707 Kalorama Road, NW
Washington, DC 20009

Phone: (202) 387-4848
Services provided: In Maryland, legal assistance with family-based immigration petitions, asylum and VAWA immigration waivers

Capital Area Immigrants Rights (CAIR) Coalition

1612 K Street , NW., Suite 204
Washington, DC 20006

Phone: (202) 331-3320
Services provided: Legal assistance with asylum proceedings

Catholic Immigration Legal Services

415 Michigan Ave. NE., Suite 200
Washington, DC 20017

Phone: (202) 635-2556
Services provided: Family law and immigration law assistance for low-income persons. Spanish-speaking

Asian Women’s Self-Help Association (ASHA)

P.O. Box 2084, Rockville, MD 20847-2084

Helpline: 1-888-417-2742
Services provided: peer support, cultural sensitivity, language barriers, and referrals to South Asian women in the DC Metropolitan area.

Tahirih Justice Center

201 N Charles St., Suite 920
Baltimore, MD 21201
Phone: 410-999-1900

Services provided: family and immigration law assistance, case management and referrals.