Society & Culture - Posted by Andy Henion-Michigan State on Monday, July 16, 2012 17:20 - 0 Comments
US Asians rarely seek help after domestic abuse
MICHIGAN STATE (US) — While cultural barriers can discourage Asian-American victims of domestic abuse from seeking help, a lack of culturally sensitive services contributes to what researchers call an “alarming trend.”
The problem can be as simple as a local domestic violence hotline that can’t facilitate calls from Chinese- or Korean-speaking victims due to language barriers, says Hyunkag Cho, assistant professor of social work at Michigan State University. And failing to get help the first time may prevent a victim from trying again, adds Cho.
Straight from the Source
“Authorities and health care providers need to be equipped with information and resources for adequately addressing the needs of victims of domestic violence among Asians and other racial minorities,” Cho says.
According to a recent Pew Research Center report, Asian-Americans are now the fastest growing racial group in the United States, making up 36 percent of all immigrants who arrived in 2010. Latinos were second, at 31 percent. Cho most recently looked at use of mental health services by Asian-American victims of domestic violence.
One study, published in the research journal Violence Against Women, reports that Asian victims used mental health services only 5.3 percent of the time, while Latino victims used them 14.6 percent of the time. Cho used survey data from about 350 victims culled from the National Latino and Asian-American Study.
A second study, based on several national surveys and featured in the Journal of Immigrant and Minority Health, shows that Asian victims of domestic violence are at least four times less likely to use mental health services than whites, blacks, or Latinos. Cho’s sample size was 755 victims.
In his native Korea, Cho says he has friends who refuse to seek help for domestic violence. In many Asian cultures, seeking help can be seen as shameful to the victim and the victim’s family.
There has been too much focus on the victims’ individual and cultural barriers to seeking help, Cho says. Instead, the focus should be on how to make affordable, culturally sensitive help more available.
“We need to look at the bigger picture,” Cho says. “We need more outreach efforts to increase access to domestic violence services.”
More news from Michigan State University: http://news.msu.edu/