Immigrant Domestic Violence Survivors

Who do we help?

We help immigrants who have experienced domestic violence and sexual assault.

Domestic violence takes place anytime one intimate partner or spouse threatens or abuses the other partner.  Abuse may include physical harm, forced sexual relations, emotional manipulation (including isolation or intimidation), and economic and/or immigration-related threats.  While most recorded incidents of domestic violence involve men abusing women or children, men can also be victims.

Sexual assault is any type of sexual activity that you do not agree to, even with your spouse. It can include unwanted exposure or touching, rape (or attempted rape), and other crimes.

Why do we help?

Immigrants, particularly women and children, are at far greater risk of experiencing domestic violence and sexual assault than non-immigrants.

Studies show that immigrant women and girls in the United States are twice as likely to experience domestic violence as other women and girls, and fear of immigration consequences, such as separation from their children, makes them less likely to leave their abusers.  Barriers such as language, isolation, lack of knowledge of US law, and distrust of authority may keep them from accessing the legal and social services that would help them.


How do we help?

If you are a survivor of domestic violence or sexual assault, you may have the right to retain or gain legal status in the US.

We advocate for immigrant survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault in Pennsylvania to enable them to obtain lawful status for themselves and their families, relief from the threat of removal, access to resources, and support and work authorization to enhance economic security.

Our expert advocates work with survivors of trauma from diverse cultures and can provide services in many languages. Our free legal services extend to:

  • U Visas
  • T Visas
  • Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) Self-Petitions and Battered Spouse Waivers
  • Work Authorization for Abused Nonimmigrant Spouses
  • Removal defense for victims of domestic violence and sexual assault
  • Other forms of legal support.

The Domestic Violence Initiative also offers trainings to other service providers.

For more information, contact us at


Need help with an immigration matter?

Get help today! To schedule an appointment, contact the Domestic Violence Initiative by phone (215-832-0900) or email (

Looking for additional information? Click here for Immigration Law Basics for Domestic Violence Advocates.