UNCG Campus Weekly

Campus Weekly is published each Wednesday when classes are in session. In the summer, it is published biweekly.

Dr. Holly Sienkiewicz

Dr. Holly Sienkiewicz (Center for New North Carolinians) received new funding from the North Carolina Council for Women & Youth Involvement for the project “Safe Transitions after Resettlement Program (STAR).”

Domestic violence is a growing concern in Guilford County among relocated immigrant and refugee populations. The Center for New North Carolinians (CNNC) will utilize a three-pronged approach to address domestic violence with refugees in Guilford County that includes: 1) continued collaboration between domestic violence and refugee service providers; 2) awareness and education pertaining to the various manifestations of family violence in relocated refugee populations; and 3) increased capacity and infrastructure to better meet the needs of refugee victims of family violence.

First, refugee service providers and domestic violence agencies will continue to meet quarterly to share current needs and concerns. These meetings will be a place for continued training and provide opportunities to brainstorm future collaboration. Second, the CNNC will increase awareness among Guilford County residents to depict the complex and multi-faceted dimensions of domestic violence in refugee communities.  Through research and continuous dialogue with bi-cultural refugees, the CNNC will examine the lesser- explored topics of forced and/or arranged marriages, human trafficking and basic cultural understandings of gender and marriage within relocated refugee populations. Third, the CNNC will engage (mostly) female interpreters in specialized domestic violence trainings to serve as interpreters and cultural brokers during domestic violence encounters.

Currently, the majority of trained interpreters speaking Nepali, Swahili, French, Burmese and other languages native to Burma are male and many ethnic communities are relatively small.  This can be problematic for women seeking to report domestic violence. There is a strong need for female interpreters that are trained in domestic violence, speak key languages, and know the contextual cultural background.  Trained interpreters will help to create the infrastructure within the broader community to respond to domestic violence encounters in culturally appropriate ways.