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NCCADV opposes any immigration legislation, policies or programs which would further endanger battered immigrants by increasing their fear and distrust of local and state law enforcement agencies in North Carolina.

Immigrant women who are victims of domestic violence face significant challenges that can prevent them from seeking help and leaving abusive relationships. Fear of police or government institutions, an unfamiliarity with U.S. legal protections, or an inability to communicate in a common language with someone who is aware of cultural differences often prevents immigrant women from seeking help. Furthermore, financial dependence on an abusive partner or fear that a spouse may have them deported is also a major barrier to leaving an abusive relationship.

Given the distinctive issues and concerns of immigrant women who are victims of domestic violence, NCCADV strongly opposes legislation, policies and programs that make battered immigrants and their children less safe due to the fear of deportation.

Talking Points:

  • Immigrant women experience a higher incidence of domestic violence, particularly in cases where the spouse is already a U.S. citizen.
  • About fifty-five percent of domestic violence victims call the police and report the abuse, while only thirty percent of documented battered immigrants report the abuse and a low fourteen percent of undocumented battered immigrants reach out to law enforcement.
  • NCCADV calls for the elimination of immigration enforcement programs that increase fear and intimidation in already vulnerable immigrant communities. Undocumented battered immigrants are less likely to report domestic violence and sexual assault if they risk being placed in deportation proceedings.

    [1] Hass, Amar, and Orloff, “Battered Immigrants and U.S. Citizen Spouses,” Legal Momentum: The Women’s Legal Defense and Education Fund, April, 2006

    [1] “Insecure Communities: How an Immigration Enforcement Program Encourages Battered Women to Stay Silent,” Radha Vishnuvajjala, Boston College Journal of Law and Social Justice, Boston College Third World Law Journal. Vol. 32. No.1. 2011.

    [1] “The Policies and Politics of Local Immigration Enforcement Laws: 287(g) Program in North Carolina,” American Civil Liberties Union of North Carolina Legal Foundation and Immigration and Human Rights Policy Clinic at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, February 2009  and “More Questions Than Answers about the Secured Communities Program,” National Immigration Law Center, March 2009
  • Immigration enforcement programs provide abusers with an additional tool to exert power and control over their partner where the abuser can hold the threat of deportation over the partner.
  • The enforcement of immigration laws by local and state law enforcement agencies creates a climate of fear and mistrust of the criminal justice system where victims of domestic violence and sexual assault are less likely to seek other legal protections such as domestic violence protective orders against the abuser for fear of being detained and subsequently deported.
  • In situations where law enforcement cannot ascertain the predominant
    aggressor, battered immigrant women may end up arrested and subsequently placed in removal proceedings. Battered immigrants may be more vulnerable in their country of origin because of possible retaliation by the abuser’s family and because they often lack access to meaningful legal protections for victims of domestic violence.
  • Battered immigrants may be more hesitant to report the domestic violence to law enforcement if there is a possibility that the abuser may be detained and subsequently deported. Often, having the abuser deported may not be in the best interests of the victim’s safety.
  • Enforcement of immigration laws by local and state authorities diminishes the effectiveness of community policing strategies that require the building of trust with the community making it more difficult to investigate crimes and keeping the community safe.
  • The public safety of communities is compromised when local and state authorities enforce immigration laws because immigrant victims and witnesses of crime are less likely to report crime to law enforcement authorities if they risk being detained due to their immigration status. If immigrant victims and witnesses do not report crimes, then perpetrators will not be held accountable for their crimes and will more likely perpetrate similar crimes against other citizens.
  • Providing local and state law enforcement agencies the authority to enforce immigration laws may divert their mission and limited resources from serving and protecting the community to immigration enforcement.
  • NCCADV supports creating local and state law enforcement policies where officers responding to calls of domestic violence and sexual assault crimes do not inquire about the victim’s or alleged perpetrator’s immigration status.

4 “Local Police Enforcement of Immigration Laws and its Effects on Victims of Domestic Violence.” Local%20Enforcement%20and%20Domestic%20Violence-1.doc.   

5 “Restoring Community: A National Community Advisory Report on ICE’s Failed ‘Secured Communities’ Program.”  

6 Id.

7 “The 287(g) Program: Harming Immigrant Women.” Legal Momentum.

8Id. For examples of this, please see and

Online Batterer's Registry

NCCADV opposes the creation of an online database where individuals convicted of domestic violence and domestic violence related crimes are registered for public reference.

Victims and survivors of domestic violence face numerous hardships and risks during and after an abusive relationship. Although well intended in addressing victim safety and batterer accountability, the development of a batterer’s registry where individuals convicted of domestic violence and domestic violence related offenses are registered for public reference raises serious safety concerns for victims and their families.

Talking Points:

  • The development of online batterer’s database for public reference is premised, in part, on the notion that if a potential victim or victims can research online their potential partner/partner’s violent history, they would not enter into the relationship or they would leave the relationship, thereby preventing domestic violence. In terms of leaving an abusive relationship, victims are at a greater risk when leaving a relationship.
  • Victims are at greater danger when reporting the abuse. Often abuser’s have a different “public” persona, and the possibility of exposing the abuser as an abuser may result in a violent reaction and/or retaliatory actions against the victim and the victim’s family.
  • The posting of the abuser’s name on a database is disempowering to the victim of domestic violence because it will make known that she/he is a victim of domestic violence. Victims of domestic violence should have the power to self-identify as a victim on their own terms.
  • A batterer’s registry may have a chilling effect on the reporting of crime to law enforcement authorities. Unfortunately, domestic violence is an underreported crime and having a batterer’s registry may dissuade victims from reporting it due to fear of retaliatory actions by abuser.
  • A batterer’s registry may create a false sense of security for potential victims in that if they look up a name of a potential partner and do not see it in the database, then they will assume that their potential partner is not an abuser.
  • Criminal records are already available to the public where anyone can look up a person’s violent history. Many online criminal record searches now can be conducted at a relatively affordable fee.
  • Law enforcement and judges already have access to a database where they can research an abuser’s criminal history.
  • A batterer’s registry would have a detrimental effect on victims where there has been a dual arrest. Law enforcement officers at times have difficulty in determining who the primary aggressor is which can lead to dual arrests where both the abuser and victim are arrested. Unfortunately, as great as our justice system is, there have been instances where the victim has been wrongfully convicted of a domestic violence offense. In this case, the victim is re-victimized by the implications that arise from being on the registry.
  • In instances where a victim is wrongfully convicted, the batterer’s registry provides an abuser an additional tool to continue to victimize the victim because it allows the abuser to identify the victim as an “abuser” where the victim may suffer the consequences as being labeled as an abuser.
  • The costs and resources necessary to create an online database may divert already limited and critical victim services funding away from services which are more critically needed than ever.
  • While the registry does create some abuser accountability, it does not address the root of domestic violence nor provides viable solutions in the prevention of domestic violence. Domestic violence is a learned behavior that has to be addressed at several different levels, i.e., individual, relationship, community and societal level.
  • A batterer’s registry creates the notion that the “fear” of being on a registry will prevent domestic violence when in reality, domestic violence will be prevented when all the aforementioned levels work to eliminate the oppressions that contribute to domestic violence.

For more information please contact Colleen Kochanek, NCCADV Lobbyist at 919.747.9988 or  or Susan Taylor, NCCADV Systems Advocacy Coordinator at 919.956.9124 or

Prepared by the North Carolina Coalition Against Domestic Violence


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