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Research Finds Gaps In Access To Domestic Violence Agencies For Rural, Spanish-Speaking Communities

Source: NC Health News

*Warning- this article contains readings, studies, and discussion around the topic of domestic violence that may be triggering for some readers*

UNC researchers are sounding the alarm surrounding the barriers Spanish-speaking communities face when accessing domestic violence resources. A report by the NC Council for Women and Youth Involvement found that domestic violence hotlines in North Carolina received approximately 93,000 calls between July 2020 and June 2021, with rural areas experiencing nearly double the rate of suburban/urban areas. 

For rural parts of the state, the lack of shelters and mental health providers, along with a lack of access to transportation, leave many survivors without proper access to crucial resources outside the hotline.

According to a new study by UNC researchers, the barriers to accessing these vital resources are multiplied for Spanish-speaking communities, as many domestic violence agencies lack bilingual staff and volunteers, and do not provide in-language options on their websites.

“Unfortunately it’s not surprising,” stated Kathleen Lockwood, the North Carolina Coalition Against Domestic Violence’s policy director in an interview with NC Health News. “Domestic violence services across the state have funding needs that aren’t being met right now and haven’t been met for years, and we’ve heard that from our members in rural settings.”

Lack of funding to local organizations in rural areas, the inability to access affordable child care and public transportation also mount further barriers for both survivors seeking care, and small organizations attempting to fill in gaps.

“I’ve heard from survivors and advocates that they often work with folks who either initially reach out and then the barriers are just too high for them to continue accessing — especially — court services” stated Lockwood. “And we know from [domestic violence] homicide data, a lot of times folks have had no interaction with service providers prior to the homicide.”

Read more at NC Health News


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