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Domestic violence, abuse, and migration

Migration A–Z


  1. Cecilia Menjívar

Published Online: 4 FEB 2013

DOI: 10.1002/9781444351071.wbeghm182

The Encyclopedia of Global Human Migration

The Encyclopedia of Global Human Migration

How to Cite

Menjívar, C. 2013. Domestic violence, abuse, and migration. The Encyclopedia of Global Human Migration. .

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 4 FEB 2013


Domestic violence or intimate partner violence is believed to be a widespread problem among immigrants, as it is among the general population (Salcido 2011). However, exact figures are difficult to access due to underreporting. This is particularly the case among immigrant women living in the largest immigrant-receiving countries, as their underreporting is further exacerbated by issues of language, unfamiliarity with a location, and legal status (Menjívar & Salcido 2002). In addition, there are multiple obstacles that arise in the data collection process itself beyond underreporting; often groups are lumped together, the already scant data that exist often do not differentiate by national origin, and existing measures sometimes fall short of capturing the specific experiences of immigrants in the area of domestic violence. As a result, data on instances of domestic violence among immigrant populations are limited in scope and what we know often comes from research based on case studies conducted in a variety of locations and immigrant groups. Nonetheless, there are important parallels across receiving countries in the experiences of domestic violence among immigrants that could set the stage for framing important theoretical questions and addressing policy concerns. An effort to identify common denominators among the various studies from different immigrant receiving countries (Menjívar & Salcido 2002) yielded some recommendations in this regard, which provide a point of departure for my presentation in this essay. One of the factors that emerged is laws in the receiving countries that can work either to protect or further hurt immigrants in domestic violence situations (Salcido 2011).


  • gender;
  • women;
  • violence;
  • family;
  • poverty;
  • transnationalism;
  • welfare