REPORT RELEASED - Stakeholders gathered at a recent meeting hosted by the Central Alberta Immigrant Women’s Association to discuss a new report on domestic violence in immigrant communities. Mark Weber/Red Deer Express

Central Alberta Immigrant Women’s Association releases domestic violence report

Findings show high rates of report participants experienced violence

High rates of domestic violence continue to impact the lives of immigrant women across the region, according to a report just released by the Central Alberta Immigrant Women’s Association (CIAWA).

Details were outlined during a presentation in Red Deer Friday morning.

Halima Ali, executive director of CIAWA, said 70 per cent of those contacted in gathering the data said either they know someone affected by domestic violence, or that it has happened to them.

“It’s a very scary number,” she said. “We didn’t know that number was so high. For that reason, we were led to create not only awareness, but how we can support (those affected) and eradicate this issue in society.

“We can do it. I know that we can do it because we are in a small centre — we can reach our policy makers, our mayors, our MLAs. We can work together,” she explained.

Research findings showed that perpetrators often threaten a victim’s immigration status as a tool of control, or they threaten them with deportation should the victim report the domestic violence.

“Limited language proficiency is (also) a significant obstacle to accessing services,” noted the report. Social isolation is also a significant factor in many cases as well.

“There is often a lack of economic or social resources available to victims and many have a lack of knowledge of the Canadian social and justice systems.”

Ali said it’s vital to urge funders, policy makers and the rest of the community to listen to the affected women and take action.

“I’m hoping that the whole community will be there with support.”

The report also identified a number of community sources where bolstered assistance would be welcome, including from counselors, lawyers/legal professionals, academics, religious leaders and child advocates.

RCMP and Victim Services also need more skills to communicate with victims in a way that is more effective to serve them in building trust with immigrants as well.

Also, ‘culturally competent’ programs by all sectors, temporary shelters for immigrant victims, education about justice system options, funding for programs, better orientation with and more information on services already available and a shifting of attitudes and current norms are all needed, too, noted the report.

More housing for women fleeing violence is a key part of providing help, she said.

“You have to do the awareness, you have to do the work on prevention. But after that, you need the resources like housing,” she said, adding there just isn’t enough spaces for abused women to escape to.

Transition homes are vital, where women can be supported as they work towards establishing a new, independent life. “That’s the only way they can leave the abusers.”

As mentioned, otherwise they tend to be very economically dependent on their abusive partners, for example.

Ron Orr, MLA for Lacombe-Ponoka, also attended the meeting.

He said he was encouraged to see those gathered working together to generate solutions to the wide-spread issue of domestic violence. Orr added that helping to support CIAWA with their mandate, working to raise awareness and bringing the importance of these issues to the attention of not just local communities but to the provincial government are things he will continue to contribute to.

Clearly, domestic violence is a universal issue, Ali said. But for immigrant women, a sense of vulnerability for those trapped in these horrific situations can even be stronger.

“They have specific issues – language – how they can communicate to express their feelings about what they want?

“Also there’s the lack of information – immigrant women often don’t have that information,” she said.

“In order to do all of these things, to give them the ability to navigate the system and to communicate what their issues are, we need the support of the community. It’s not just a woman’s issue – it’s a society issue, and we have to think as a society of ways to bring change.”

For more information, visit www.caiwa.ca.

Just Posted

WATCH: Urban chicken coops a great source for community

Fafards have zero problems with urban hens during pilot project

Study shows early childhood development in Lacombe lagging behind neighbours

Early Years Matter Coalition study shows work needs to be done

Lacombe schools in danger of losing funding over GSA compliance

Education Minister David Eggen said 28 out of 94 accredited funded private schools not in compliance

Urban hens close to being permanent in Lacombe

Council passes first reading of bylaw to extend pilot program permanently

No pumping into Gull Lake for 5 years due to carp concerns

Worries of carp in the Blindman River has put a hold on pumping water into Gull Lake

WATCH: Remembrance Day in Lacombe fills LMC

2018 marked 100 years since the end of First World War

Canadian military’s template for perfect recruits outdated: Vance

Gen. Jonathan Vance, the chief of defence staff says that the military has to change because the very nature of warfare is changing, particularly when it comes to cyber-warfare

Canada defeats Germany 29-10 in repechage, moves step closer to Rugby World Cup

Hong Kong needs a bonus-point win over Canada — scoring four or more tries — while denying the Canadians a bonus point

Don’t sign USMCA until LGBTQ language excised, U.S. lawmakers urge Trump

The trade agreement, forged after 13 months of tense negotiations between Canada and the U.S. is scheduled for Nov. 30

US official: US intel says prince ordered Khashoggi killing

Vice-President Mike Pence told reporters that ‘the murder of Jamal Khashoggi was an atrocity.’

Castor, Forestburg, coal workers get $257,644 to transition to low-carbon economy

Two transition centres will serve seven communities in the Battler River Region

Canada’s health system commendable overall but barriers to care remain: UN

The United Nations says Canada’s health care system is “commendable” overall but vulnerable groups still face barriers to quality care.

Fashion Fridays: 5 coats you need this winter!

Kim XO, lets you know the best online shopping tips during Fashion Fridays on the Black Press Media Network

Saskatchewan college honours memory of Humboldt Broncos coach

Darcy Haugan wore jersey No. 22 when he was a star player with the Briercrest College Clippers

Most Read