Domestic violence is a global issue that affects individuals of all genders, races, ethnicities, and socioeconomic backgrounds. In the United States, one in four women and one in nine men experience severe physical violence by an intimate partner at some point in their lives. While domestic violence affects all communities, it disproportionately impacts Asian and Pacific Islander (API) communities. The Asian/Pacific Islander Domestic Violence Resource Project (DVRP) is a nonprofit organization that works to address this issue.
DVRP was founded in 1996 in Washington, D.C., as the first nonprofit organization in the United States to specifically address domestic violence in the API community. The organization was founded by a group of women who recognized that domestic violence was an issue that was often ignored or swept under the rug in their communities. They also recognized that many APIs who experienced domestic violence faced unique barriers, including language barriers, cultural barriers, and fear of deportation.
Since its founding, DVRP has provided culturally responsive and linguistically appropriate services to thousands of survivors of domestic violence and their families. The organization provides a range of services, including a 24-hour hotline, crisis intervention, safety planning, emergency shelter, legal advocacy, and counseling. DVRP’s services are free and confidential, and they are provided in more than 20 API languages.
In addition to direct services, DVRP also works to raise awareness about domestic violence in API communities and to provide training and technical assistance to other organizations and service providers. The organization collaborates with a wide range of partners, including government agencies, community-based organizations, and academic institutions, to build capacity and create systemic change.
One of DVRP’s unique strengths is its commitment to community engagement and leadership development. The organization works to empower survivors and community members to become advocates and leaders in their own right. DVRP’s Survivor Advisory Council, made up of survivors of domestic violence who have received services from the organization, provides input and feedback on the organization’s programs and services, as well as on broader policy and advocacy issues.
DVRP’s work is more important now than ever, given the rise in domestic violence during the COVID-19 pandemic. Domestic violence has been called a “shadow pandemic,” as rates of abuse have increased globally during lockdowns and social distancing measures. API communities have been particularly hard hit, as many individuals are facing increased stress and economic insecurity, as well as the additional stress of anti-Asian racism and hate crimes.
In conclusion, the Asian/Pacific Islander Domestic Violence Resource Project (DVRP) is a vital organization that provides critical services and support to survivors of domestic violence in API communities. The organization’s commitment to cultural responsiveness, community engagement, and survivor leadership is a model for other organizations working to address domestic violence. By raising awareness about this issue and providing resources and support to those who need it, DVRP is making a tangible difference in the lives of survivors and their families.