If you are a victim of domestic violence, you have the right to be safe, regardless of your legal status in the United States. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 1 in 5 women and 1 in 7 men have experienced physical violence by an intimate partner. Our Woodbridge immigration team discusses information and resources for immigrant victims of domestic violence and legal options to consider.
How to Protect Yourself
If you feel like you are in danger, you should contact the police immediately. Many victims often worry that they don’t have the right to call the police due to their immigration status; this is not true. When you contact police about domestic violence, their duty is to protect you from your abuser– not to call ICE.
Immigrant survivors of domestic violence often feel isolated and helpless since it is often the case they are undocumented or their legal status depends on the abuser. Thankfully, there are laws and programs to protect those in this situation.
What is VAWA?
The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) allows abused parents, spouses, and children of a U.S. Citizen or Lawful Permanent Resident to self-petition for lawful status in the United States. Through this program, the victim(s) will be eligible to receive employment authorization and access to public benefits.
You can self-petition for citizenship or legal status through VAWA by filling out form I-360, Petition for Amerasian, Widow(er), or Special Immigrant. In addition to this form, you need to include evidence to prove that you meet the requirements for VAWA. Depending on your relationship with the abuser, the USCIS has eligibility requirements to qualify for VAWA. It is highly recommended to contact an immigration lawyer if you want to self-petition under VAWA. An immigration lawyer will guide you through the process and ensure you have all the documentation needed.
Resources for Domestic Violence Survivors
National Domestic Violence Hotline
1-800- 799-7233; Online Chat; Linea de Ayuda en Español (24/7 Language Line Access)
Maryland Network Against Domestic Violence
301-429-3601; Online Form
Virginia Sexual and Domestic Violence Action Alliance
1-800-838-8238; Online Chat
We Can Help
Domestic violence should not be tolerated, regardless of your immigration status. Our team at Yacub Law Offices is equipped to provide you with the support and legal guidance you need.
If you or a loved one are immigrant survivors of domestic violence, contact us today. Call us today at +1 703 533 2347 or online through our website for your free consultation.