Creating Impact for Survivors of Domestic Violence

by: Elaine Abelaye-Mateo, Everyday Impact Consulting

September 29, 2016


My Sister’s House has been a leader in building Asian and Pacific Islander (API) cultural competency among mainstream domestic violence (DV) shelters and service providers. This year marks the 7th year that My Sister’s House has led a cohort of domestic violence providers in building their cultural competency through their Next Generation Network. Everyday Impact Consulting, has partnered with My Sister’s House to capture the experiences, learnings, and stories of the various partners.


In the most recent data report, which measures the activities of the partners from the first quarter of the project, there were some notable takeaways:


Case for Continued Cultural Competency

Several domestic violence organizations reported that Asian and Pacific Islander survivors were calling their crisis lines, seeking shelter and seeking legal services. Each of those needs requires a basic level of cultural competency. When Asian and Pacific Islander survivors call into the crisis line, often times monolingual survivors require language support. Asian and Pacific Islander survivors seeking shelter may require special accommodations for their faith practices. Lastly, Asian and Pacific Islander survivors requiring legal support, especially first generation, may be quite unfamiliar with the American legal system and will require culturally-competent legal guidance. My Sister’s House Next Generation Network helps to strengthen the cultural competency of the participating domestic violence organizations and also increases their networks and connections in the Asian and Pacific Islander community to serve as referral partners.


Cultural Competency Challenges Remain

Participating organizations in the Next Generation Network have also encountered a number of barriers in their pursuit of Asian and Pacific Islander cultural competency. Organizations reported staff changes, language barriers, and a lack of legal resources as a few of the challenges they are seeking to overcome. Additionally, some organizations shared that they are having difficulty building bridges into communities with whom they have never had relationships with. And others reported that customizing services for specific ethnic communities can be resource intensive. The Next Generation Network is designed to help organizations work through these challenges. The partners meet regularly to work through any issues and share best practices.


Small Wins for Cultural Competency

And, while the organizations have encountered barriers and are strategizing ways to best serve the Asian and Pacific Islander population, there have been reports of successes. In their shelters, organizations have included ethnic and cultural foods in their pantries and have identified specific areas of the shelter to accommodate for various faiths. Organizations have also increased their Asian and Pacific Islander networks and have new allies in their local communities. Lastly, the Next Generation Network initiative asks organizations to pay close attention to their cultural competency plans and partners are asked to report on progress they are making toward their cultural competency goals.


Though there is certainly more work to be done, My Sister’s House, through its Next Generation Network, continues to lead the way in helping domestic violence organizations to create more equitable, and, more accessible services and programs for Asian and Pacific Islander Survivors.

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