Advocates for victims of domestic violence stress that state legislatures must consider the influence of race, culture and other demographic factors to craft effective Domestic violence strategies, reported Stateline.
African-American women, for example, are most likely to be killed by an intimate partner. Domestic abuse among Asian/Pacific Islander communities often involves more than one family member battering the same victim in the home, according to the Asian & Pacific Islander Institute on Domestic Violence. And Latinas are less likely to seek help from a shelter, preferring to find protection from friends and family.
Currently no state is trying to prevent domestic violence by focusing on specific demographic groups, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Advocates say that’s a problem.
“What works for one victim or 20 victims might not work in another part of the city or the state,” says Michael Polenberg, vice president of government affairs for Safe Horizon in New York City. “It might not work two blocks from where you’re standing. There should be a diverse range of options for victims of crime to get help that recognizes cultural and linguistic differences.”
Nonprofit organizations are picking up the slack, often with federal money distributed by the states. Recently, the MacArthur Foundation awarded one of its “genius grants” to legal scholar Sarah Deer, a citizen of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation of Oklahoma, for her work advocating for Native women, who suffer the highest rates of violent crime in the country.
Because the movement to help battered women largely has been driven by white, middle-class women, said Deer, a professor at the William Mitchell College of Law in St. Paul, “the attention is on generic domestic violence, (without legislators) really thinking about the nuances of race and class."
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