[ Back to EurekAlert! ] Public release date: 9-Nov-2009
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Contact: Emily Martin
SmithEA@missouri.edu
573-882-3346
University of Missouri-Columbia

Experts offer strategies for working with immigrant victims of violence

MU experts say greater understanding of languages and cultures is needed

VIDEO: University of Missouri health expert Deb Hume, assistant teaching professor in the Master of Public Health Program, discusses issues of immigrant and refugee violence and the need for effective...

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COLUMBIA, Mo. Last year, the United States provided asylum and resettlement assistance for nearly 80,700 people from other countries, an increase from 71,300 individuals in 2007, according to the U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants. University of Missouri health experts say the increase has made issues of immigrant and refugee violence and the need for effective intervention strategies more apparent.

Deb Hume, assistant teaching professor in the MU Master of Public Health (MPH) Program, and Barbara Bogomolov, director of refugee services for Barnes Jewish Hospital in St. Louis, recommend the following prevention and intervention strategies to address immigrant and refugee violence:

IMAGE: Deb Hume, assistant teaching professor in the University of Missouri Master of Public Health Program, speaks with MU students about working with immigrant victims of violence.

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"Although interpersonal violence and violence against women and children are universal occurrences, language and culture are unique to individuals, and service providers need to be sensitive to each person's specific needs and circumstances," Hume said. "We cannot know what trauma any one person has experienced, and we have to be vigilant about making communication as safe and culturally appropriate as possible."

IMAGE: Barbara Bogomolov, director of refugee services for Barnes Jewish Hospital in St. Louis, answers a question from Caritas Habimana, a Columbia resident from Rwanda, about problems that arise with interpretation...

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Hospitals, clinics and service organizations can train workers and language interpreters to be aware of these issues. The experts say it is important to recognize that immigrants and refugees:

Hume is working with the Central Missouri Stop Human Trafficking Coalition to develop a support network for victims of violence in Columbia. For more information about immigrant victims of violence, please visit: http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/orr/index.html http://www.endabuse.org/section/programs/immigrant_women

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