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LIFE is a choice that you make everyday to change and empower your self.Choose to be true, to be positive, and to be happy. No matter what. Venkat Desireddy.

By Divorce Attorney Marcia Blake, Jun 4 2016 04:51PM

Are you or a family member living in the U.S. in an abusive relationship?

If this is you or someone you know, contact a help hotline immediately. The National Domestic Violence Hotline can be reached at 1-800-799-7233 or 1-800-787-3224 (TDD).

The violence against women act (VAWA) which really should be relabeled, as it protects BOTH MEN and WOMEN who have suffered abuse, permits certain abused family members of U.S. Citizens and permanent residents to self- petition for a green card without the help or knowledge of your abuser. This allows victims to seek both safety and independence from their abuser, who is not notified about the filing.

Immigrants are particularly vulnerable to abuse because we are often separated from family and friends, and may not understand the laws of the United States. For these reasons, immigrants are often afraid to report acts of domestic violence to the police or to seek other forms of assistance. Such fear causes many immigrants to remain in abusive relationships. Know that there is help available!

Men are victims of domestic abuse too.

Although domestic violence is more commonly carried out against women, it is a dangerous myth to believe that domestic violence are only perpetrated by men. Men are victims of domestic violence, but because of the many labels that society imposes on us in terms of gender roles most abused men continue to suffer in silence.

Domestic Violence perpetrated by both men and women as the abuser of immigrants in the US is a growing concern. In addition to the factors keeping the abused from reporting their abusers there is usually the fear of losing everything and being deported. The abusers often use the promise of deportation as a tool to control their victims.

You do not need to stay in an abusive relationship because of fear of deportation! There is help out there that doesn't involve your abuser!

Remember, domestic violence does not get better it escalates. Do not become a statistic. Be strong enough to walk away NOW and save yourself and reduce the long term psychological impact it will have on your children.

Most experts believe that children who are raised in abusive homes learn that violence is an effective way to resolve conflicts and problems. They may replicate the violence they witnessed as children in their teen and adult relationships and parenting experiences or they may become victims themselves!

What are the benefits of VAWA?

1. It allows the abused family member to remain in the United States and eventually obtain lawful permanent residence/green card

2. It provides work authorization

Who is Eligble?

1. An abused noncitizen child or spouse of a US citizen or permanent resident parent

2. An abused noncitizen parent of U.S. citizen

3. A child, whether abused or not, of a parent who was abused by a US citizen or permanent resident spouse.

The Requirements to Qualify for VAWA

1. The abusive family member is or was a US citizen or lawful permanent resident

2. The abused family member resided at some point with the abusive U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident parent, in or out of the U.S.

Help is available from the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 or 1-800-787-3224 (TDD). The hotline has information about shelters, mental health care, legal advice and other types of assistance, including information about filing for immigration status. For more information, visit the National Domestic Violence website.

Call my office to discuss your legal options: 203-764-0337

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Attorney Marcia P. Blake

"You Have Rights. I Protect Them".