Immigrant survivors of sexual assault often face unique challenges and barriers to seeking and receiving support. While survivors of sexual assault of all backgrounds can face harm and dismissal of their experiences from the very systems set up to prevent and respond to violence, many immigrant survivors also experience intersecting and compounded oppressions including xenophobia and racism. Immigrant survivors may struggle to achieve safety and justice on their own terms due to their immigration status, limited language access, history of trauma, unmet mental health needs, cultural and religious backgrounds, community isolation (which can be exacerbated in locations that are historically resource limited), and a lack of knowledge of laws, rights, resources and systems. As we think about being inclusive in the services and support we provide, it is critical to understand that all non-citizen survivors have certain legal rights, and have economic, community, and other significant pressures that are related to or arising from their immigration status in addition to the trauma of the sexual abuse they experienced. During this workshop, we will explore the distinctions in legal and safety planning options for sexual assault survivors who are immigrants , refugees, and asylum seekers and best practices for accompanying immigrant survivors on their journey to justice and healing.
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