Experiences of immigrant women who self-petition under the violence against women act

Maia Ingram, Deborah Jean McClelland, Jessica Martin, Montserrat F. Caballero, Maria Theresa Mayorga, Katie Gillespie

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

41 Scopus citations


Undocumented immigrant women who are abused and living in the United States are isolated in a foreign country, in constant fear of deportation, and feel at the mercy of their spouse to gain legal status. To ensure that immigration law does not trap women in abusive relationships, the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA, 1994) enabled immigrant women to self-petition for legal status. Qualitative research methods were used in this participatory action research to investigate the experiences of Mexican immigrant women filing VAWA self-petitions. Emotional, financial, and logistic barriers in applying are identified, and recommendations for practice research and policy are provided.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)858-880
Number of pages23
JournalViolence Against Women
Issue number8
StatePublished - 2010


  • Immigrant
  • Legal aid
  • Participatory action research
  • Partner violence
  • VAWA

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gender Studies
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Law


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