Communities of color

While the impact of domestic violence and sexual assault crosses all social, economic, and racial lines, there are barriers and concerns that are unique to communities of color. Survivors of color often face a lack of culturally appropriate services as well as prevention & supportive resources in diverse languages. Adding to these challenges is a lack of collaboration with the community based social service programs that historically provide services to communities of color. These conditions have led to an often marginalized and underserved population of survivors.

Barriers faced by survivors of color

Each community of color has challenges and circumstances that are unique to their community. However, there are common factors that account for many of the barriers survivors of color face as they seek help.

  • Cultural and/or religious beliefs that restrain the survivor from leaving the abusive relationship or involving outsiders.
  • Strong loyalty binds to race, culture and family.
  • Distrust of law enforcement, criminal justice system, and social services.
  • Lack of service providers that look like the survivor or share common experiences.
  • Lack of culturally and linguistically appropriate services.
  • Lack of trust based on history of racism and classism in the United States.
  • Fear that their experience will reflect on or confirm the stereotypes placed on their ethnicity.
  • Assumptions of providers based on ethnicity.
  • Attitudes and stereotypes about the prevalence of domestic violence and sexual assault in communities of color.
  • Legal status in the U.S. of the survivor and/or the batterer.
  • Oppression, including revictimization is intensified at the intersections of race, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, ability, legal status, age and socioeconomic status.

Victimization statistics for women of color

Facts and Stats from the National Women of Color Network

These are up-to-date, comprehensive and concise resources that are intended to heighten awareness of unique issues affecting communities of color. Topics include Domestic Violence, Sexual Violence, Dating Violence, and Elder Abuse. Please look forward to more topics in the near future, including Economic Justice Facts & Stats, Child Abuse Facts & Stats, and Reproductive Health Facts and Stats.

The City of Portland’s Independent Police Review Division (IPR)

The City of Portland’s Independent Police Review Division (IPR) is an impartial oversight agency, independent of the Portland Police Bureau, under the authority of the elected City Auditor. IPR and the nine-member Citizen Review Committee (CRC) were created in 2001 to help improve police accountability, promote higher standards of police services, and increase public confidence. One of the primary methods to accomplish its mission is by receiving and investigating citizen complaints of police misconduct.

IPR’s powers and duties include:

  • Receiving, tracking, monitoring on-going investigations and reporting on the disposition of citizen complaints against members of the Portland Police Bureau. IPR refers complaints believed to demonstrate officer misconduct to Portland Police Internal Affairs Division for a full investigation. The Director and / or Assistant Director will oversee the on-going investigation. IPR is responsible for ensuring accuracy, thoroughness, and fairness in an investigation. A full investigation may result in discipline to the officer.
  • Facilitating mediation. Some citizens wish to meet directly with officers involved, rather than use the disciplinary process to resolve their complaint. If all parties involved in the complaint agree, the City will hire a professional mediator to conduct the mediation at a convenient location – at no expense to the parties.
  • Distributing complaint forms in languages and formats accessible to citizens, educating them on the importance of reporting complaints, and holding public meetings to hear general concerns about police services.

CRC powers and duties include:

  • Conducting public meetings and participating in community meetings to hear concerns about police services.
  • Helping the IPR Director identify specific patterns of problems and participating in the development of policy recommendations.
  • Reviewing methods for handling complaints and advise on criteria for dismissal, mediation and investigation.

To learn more about IPR and CRC, and / or to file a complaint or commendation regarding the conduct of a Portland Police Officer contact:

The Independent Police Review Division
1221 SW 4th Avenue, Room 320
Portland OR, 97204-1900

Our equity and anti-oppression efforts


Communities of Color Task Force

The Communities of Color Task Force (CCTF) provides an opportunity for advocacy programs and our community partners to organize around the specific concerns of domestic violence and sexual assault survivors from communities of color.

The Communities of Color Task Force is committed to:

  • Developing and distributing information that informs Oregon’s domestic and sexual violence providers on best practices, current research, and cultural relevant and culturally specific services for communities of color.
  • Addressing the disparities faced by people of color as a means to violence prevention.
  • Supporting leadership within diverse communities.
  • Increasing access to services for survivors of color.
  • Addressing issues surrounding retention of survivors of colors that access services.
  • Community organizing and activism at the intersections of oppression

See also

External links



Author / Source

Oregon Coalition Against Domestic & Sexual Violence

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