Experiences of Front-line Shelter Workers in Providing Services to Immigrant Women Impacted by Family Violence

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Link: http://atwork.settlement.org/downloads/atwork/Shelter_Workers_Providing_Services_to_Immigrant_Women.pdf
By: Angie Arora
Org: York University, Graduate Programme in Social Work
Date: 2004

The purpose of this research study is to explore how front-line workers of shelters for abused women and children experience providing support to immigrant women impacted by family violence.

In order to explore shelter service provision to immigrant women, the research study examined three key issues:

  1. training of front-line shelter workers
  2. experiences they encounter in providing services to immigrant women
  3. workers' recommendations for how shelter service provision could be improved to better support immigrant women

From these issues stemmed the research study's overarching question: How do front-line shelter workers experience providing services to immigrant women who have been impacted by family violence?

Semi-structured interviews were done with four front-line workers of shelters for abused women and children in the Southern Ontario region. The training and experiences of participants were explored and workers were asked for recommendations that would improve shelter service delivery to immigrant women.

The author's findings indicated that service delivery issues continue to exist when supporting immigrant women in shelters including lack of sufficient training, language barriers, and cultural barriers. Participants discussed a wide range of recommendations for one-to-one support, shelters, and larger systems that they believed would allow for better shelter service delivery to immigrant women. Recommendations are organized under four categories: recommendations for one-to-one support, recommendations for shelters, recommendations for social services, and recommendations for larger systems.

In this study, shelter service provision to immigrant women was explored from the workers'perspectives. The voices, experiences, and insights of immigrant women who have utilized shelter services were not included. The author suggests that future research could present the findings from this study to immigrant women who have used shelter services and elicit their feedback and that this study should be looked at as one step in the process of implementing changes in shelter services to immigrant women. Including the voices of immigrant women is imperative if appropriate services are to be offered.

This study is available for download in Adobe Acrobat PDF format (390 KB, 70 pages).