NIFVI is composed of six immigrant serving agencies from across the country, along with a research/evaluation program. We are dedicated to improving the lives of immigrants and their families in our local communities and across the country. NIFVI is funded by the Family Violence Prevention and Services Act, through the Family Youth Services Bureau in Administration for Children and Families, US Department of Health and Human Services.

Through individual experiences, we recognized how difficult it is for immigrants to seek assistance and the specialized services needed to effectively serve this population. Six of the coalition’s founders are sister agencies, members of the US Committee for Refugees and Immigrants, a national nonprofit organization with members serving more than 1 million immigrants annually.

NIFVI Philosophy

While we support efforts to combat DV in all groups, our work focuses on cultural and linguistic minorities. So we use a cultural and linguistic lens in expressing our philosophy.

Vision: A society in which cultural norms support non-violent relationships.

Mission: Enhancing responses to domestic violence through use of culturally and linguistically effective methods at the personal, organizational, community and societal levels.

Values Statements:

  • Violence against women is never acceptable. DV is a crime: just because it was not considered a crime in the survivor’s home country doesn’t make it less of a crime in the US.

  • Safety is of paramount importance and should be addressed before other services. Safety is particularly complex for those from small minority groups who may struggle to obtain anonymity. Special strategies for protection are thus needed.

  • We support woman-defined advocacy, including the right to remain with an abuser, or leave. Leaving is often more complicated for CLS individuals; advocates need to be clear in their support whatever choice a women makes.

  • Prevention requires an understanding of the factors that increase the likelihood of DV, so appropriate strategies can be employed. The most common framework for understanding DV is the use of power and control by perpetrators. We recognize this element in violence in immigrant communities. We also know there are relationships between exposure to violence and future perpetration of violence, although the nature of those relationships remains unclear. So prevention strategies – especially with refugees – require multiple strategies.

  • Cultural norms and life experiences may shape the expression of violence in general, and thus should shape strategies and services. But they should never be excuses for violence.

  • Bridging cultural differences requires both an understanding of the survivor’s culture and that of mainstream America. Cultural competence can be obtained regardless of one’s cultural background. Partnering across cultures maximizes cultural competence, as well as decreases segregation and isolation.

  • Culture and language are complex phenomena, continuously shifting and not monolithic in typically defined CLS groups. No one can be an expert on another person’s cultural beliefs or linguistic patterns. We can however show empathy, openness to learning, and respect, which will help in bridging cultural and linguistic differences.

  • We embrace cultural norms that lead to protection against violence and strengthen positive community responses. Violence is both an interpersonal and community problem. Especially in collectivist cultures, the community plays a critical role in instilling non-violent norms.

  • Research should inform practice. However, little research is available to address cultural minorities who experience DV, so practice must also inform research. The best T&TA is built on integrating research and practice, and advancing our knowledge.

NIFVI Partners include:

IIBA International Institute of the Bay Area      
International Institute of New England     Nationalities Service Center Nationalities Service Center of Philadelphia
International Institute of St. Louis       University of Florida - Department of Epidemiology