It takes more than translating a flier: Considerations in serving immigrants as victims of crime in a large Midwestern city

Kelly Ann Yotebieng, Kenneth J. Steinman, Lauren Phelps, Samantha Schoeppner, Deanna L. Wilkinson


Recent public discourse on the possible threats posed by immigrant populations as potential perpetrators of crime seems to ignore the accumulating scholarly literature that shows that immigrants have a documented crime reducing effect on the general population in the United States.  Yet, immigrants themselves are placed at heightened risk for a wide variety of victimization experiences. Their needs as victims of crime have rarely been studied. This study aims to partially fill that void by investigating how service providers funded to assist victims of crime work with and attempt to meet the needs of immigrants, including large numbers of refugees, in one large Midwest city.  The state’s Attorney General’s office supported a needs assessment that included a focus on the needs of victims from immigrant (and other) underserved populations. We conducted 21 semi-structured interviews with key informants who had varying degrees of expertise serving crime victims from immigrant communities across the state.  Interviews were audiotaped, transcribed, coded and analyzed using a collaborative, team-based approach. Our analysis describes the challenges faced by service providers serving immigrant victims and recommends directions for future research and policy


immigrant; refugee; victims; trauma; crime

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