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Barriers to Access: An Analysis of Obstacles to Obtaining Services for Bosnian Immigrant Victims/Survivors of Intimate Partner Violence in St. Louis
Research Mentor and Department
Research shows that immigrants and refugees experience intimate partner violence in different ways and at higher rates than those from other populations. These victims also face many barriers to accessing support services that are in place for survivors of intimate partner violence, such as language barriers, lack of knowledge of the United States legal system, and distrust of police. In St. Louis, Bosnians currently make up approximately five percent of the city’s population, yet they represent an even smaller percentage of people attempting to utilize services available to assist survivors of intimate partner violence, such as transitional housing, orders of protection, and domestic violence shelters. Studies have shown that intimate partner violence is present at higher rates in immigrant and refugee communities, meaning that this discrepancy is likely the result of barriers that are keeping Bosnian survivors from accessing the services they need to achieve safety. Through in depth interviews with service providers, I have gained insight into aspects of the current service system that may be excluding Bosnian immigrant survivors, and I have also developed ideas on how these services could better provide for Bosnian survivors of intimate partner violence.