The Asian community and domestic abuse

Sufferers of domestic abuse within Asian society may be enduring the ordeal of living with a violent relative in silence. According to Hyunkag Cho, Assistant Professor of social work at Michigan State University, Asian-American victims are reluctant to seek help in this regard.

This issue may be the case in other communities of those of Asian origin around the world and Mr Cho explained there are several reasons why social services are not reaching these groups.

Cultural barriers may be discouraging victims from seeking help, while there is a lack of culturally-sensitive hotlines or support centres.

Indeed, some victims may find the courage to call for help, but the operator cannot offer them the aid they need due to language barriers, which may discourage an individual from trying again.

In a study published in the journal Violence Against Women, Mr Cho found Asian victims use mental health services only 5.3 per cent of the time, compared to Latino females, who reach out in nearly 15 per cent of cases.

Dr Anuradha Sayal-Bennett, a Chartered Psychologist, said: "In the UK there is a lack of culturally appropriate accessible help - particularly in the NHS. A service I setup in Slough had its funding cut. So many other similar voluntary or charitable services have lived short lives.

"There are cultural taboos with making private matters public. In my own research, fear of dishonour, shame and being rejected from the community were all reasons for the under reporting of domestic abuse. There are also fears that disclosure could result in more severe retribution.

"Part of the way forward for the “Asian community” is to debate this issue more openly so that domestic violence is not condoned, and perpetrators are named and shamed. The Southall Black Sisters did this very successfully over 25 years ago."

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