In Between the System and the Margins: Community Organizations, Mandatory Charging and Immigrant Victims of Abuse

Rashmee D. Singh


The literature on mandatory charging and prosecution policies consistently finds that zero tolerance approaches to woman abuse often harm, rather than help, abused immigrant women. The unexpected removal of abusers triggers detrimental consequences if women are dependent on their partners for immigration status, financial assistance and linguistic support. The violence that immigrant women experience at the hands of the police and courts has led to repeated calls to shift the responsibility of women abuse from the criminal justice system to the community. However, accessing community supports may not be so straightforward either. For a variety of reasons, many abused immigrant women find silence less risky than disclosing abuse. These dilemmas highlight the importance of acquiring more insight into the mediating role that community organizations perform between the criminal justice system and immigrant communities. Accordingly, the following exploratory study offers a glimpse into the anti-violence work of immigrant community organizations in Toronto, Ontario.


Violence Against Women; Mandatory Charging; Community Organizations; Abused Immigrant Women; State Violence; Grassroots Initiatives

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