A new study finds that Asian-American victims of domestic violence rarely seek care from health providers or report it to law enforcement.
Asian-Americans are the fastest growing racial group in the United States, and Hyunkag Cho, Ph.D., a Michigan State University researcher, believes the failure to seek care is a combination of cultural barriers that discourage victims from seeking help, and lack of culturally sensitive services.
The dearth of services could be eased by having a local domestic violence hotline that could facilitate calls from Chinese- or Korean-speaking victims, Cho said. The absence of such service may dissuade a victim who failed to get help the first time from trying again.
“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 said.
The realization that Asian-Americans are the fastest growing racial group may be a surprise. According to a recent Pew Research Center report, Asian-Americans constitute 36 percent of all immigrants who arrived in 2010, with Latinos second, at 31 percent.
In a study published by the journal Violence Against Women, Cho found 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.
In a second study, based on several national surveys and featured in the Journal of Immigrant and Minority Health, he found that Asian victims of domestic violence were at least four times less likely to use mental health services than whites, blacks or Latinos.
In his native Korea, Cho said he had friends who refused 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.
Cho believes authorities should focus on the development of affordable, culturally sensitive services for to Asia-Americans. He believes policymakers and other experts have placed too much emphasis on the effects of individual and cultural barriers.
“We need to look at the bigger picture,” Cho said. “We need more outreach efforts to increase access to domestic violence services.”
Source: Michigan State University