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Empowering Immigrants: Understanding The Benefits Of The Violence Against Women Act In The United States

Empowering Immigrants: Understanding the Benefits of the Violence Against Women Act in the United StatesViolence Against Women Act (VAWA) is a relief program for people who suffer domestic violence from a spouse, parent, or child, but it’s not just for women. This article explores its intersection with immigration, particularly:
  • Various eligibility criteria,
  • When and who it is designed to help, and
  • What individuals can cite instead of a police report in order to reap the protections of the law.

What Is VAWA?

The Violence Against Women Act in the United States, or VAWA, provides relief for individuals who suffer from extreme hardship caused by their spouse, parent, or adult child. To be eligible for the Violence Against Women Act in the United States, applicants must have a relationship with a U.S. citizen spouse or former spouse, parent, a child who is 21 years or older, a lawful permanent resident spouse or former spouse, or an illegal permanent resident parent. Although the name of the act specifies women, people of any gender are eligible for its protections. If the applicant is a victim of physical or verbal abuse from their spouse or family member who is a U.S. citizen or a lawful permanent resident, they can self-petition for VAWA relief. Doing so would eliminate the need for their abuser to file on their behalf. In addition, successfully demonstrating extreme hardship and physical abuse can lead to a green card through the VAWA program. The policy is designed to support those threatened or abused by their spouse, especially if their immigration status is being leveraged against them. Cases where a person entered the U.S. illegally, are married to a U.S. citizen who abuses them, and their spouse threatens to call ICE if they report the abuse are clear examples of individuals this law is designed to protect. VAWA provides help for people in these situations, allowing them to apply for relief without their spouse’s help, truly empowering them to rise above difficult circumstances.

What Are The Requirements For VAWA?

With VAWA, applicants do not need to gather and cite a police report in order to enjoy the protections the law offers. Instead, they can use their own words and declarations to demonstrate they suffered extreme abuse or hardship. Further, physical abuse is not the only condition for protection under the law, as it also protects those who suffer psychological abuse. For example, a spouse taking control of all aspects of the victim’s life and verbally abusing them would qualify. Witnesses can provide written declarations of the abuse, but if there are no witnesses, the victim can simply provide their own account. If the victim has a police report or restraining order, they can use it as evidence for a green card. For more information on the Violence Against Women Act In The US, an initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you seek by calling (310) 341-0551 today.
Julie Moreno, Esq. - Family-Based Immigration Lawyer - Orange, CA

Call For A Free Consultation

(310) 341-0551

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