Between 2000 and 2002, more than a third of the 53 Utahns killed during domestic altercations were Latinos, says the Salt Lake Tribune. The number is disproportionate for an ethnic group that accounted for just 8.2 percent of the statewide population, says the Utah Domestic Violence Fatality Review Committee. Hispanic women are “not educated in domestic violence,” said said one victim whose ex-husband was convicted of felony spousal abuse. “They don’t know where to go and they’re lacking the funds to get out.” Some 64.9 Latinos per 1 million adults were convicted in domestic violence killings – three times higher than the rate for whites at 22.9 per 1 million adults.
Latinas, especially those who do not speak English, struggle to get help from the time they pick up the phone and dial 911 to the time they appear in court before a judge. Poor access to services and fear of deportation may also explain the high numbers, said Gabriella Archuleta of the Utah Domestic Violence Council. Immigrant women in particular may be isolated from their family and friends abroad and not know where to turn for help. “Many would rather stay in an abusive relationship than separate from their children or be taken out of the country,” she said. “Domestic violence is the fastest growing and most serious crime in Utah,” said Ned Searle, domestic violence state coordinator, at a news conference yesterday. “Many individuals do not recognize it as a serious health problem.”