From Iceland — Foreign Domestic Violence Survivors Need Greater Support

Foreign Domestic Violence Survivors Need Greater Support

Published June 13, 2016

Andie Sophia Fontaine
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Survivors of foreign origin of domestic violence face numerous obstacles to getting the help they need, new research has discovered.

Vísir reports that these survivors can have difficulties finding an interpreter to be able to tell their story, and much of the literature on domestic violence resources in Iceland are in Icelandic.

In addition, high health care costs for the uninsured can also stand in the way of foreigners seeking help for domestic abuse – immigrants to Iceland are uninsured during their first six months in the country. A visit to the emergency room, which can cost over 57,000 ISK at full cost, can therefore be daunting for foreign survivors, who often work low-wage jobs. This, in turn, has its own effects: it is vital to many domestic violence cases that physical evidence of abuse is collected in a timely fashion.

The work group who compiled this data recommends that the flow of information be improved, for example by establishing a website that supplies information about domestic violence, its signs, and resources for survivors in languages other than Icelandic.

In the meantime, here are some resources that perhaps you or someone you know may find useful:

Hospital emergency rooms: An interpreter is always contacted when needed. By Icelandic law, those seeking medical attention who do not speak or understand Icelandic have the right to an interpreter.

The Women’s Shelter: Free interviews, and interpreters will be called if needed.

Stígamót: Free interviews. Interpreters can be available if asked for, but you may or may not have to pay for it.

The Women’s Counseling: Free counseling. No interpreters available.

As you may have to pay for an interpreter in some of these instances, do ask beforehand how much they cost, if anything.

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