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Domestic violence coalition members take part in statewide conference

Shirley Coyne, Paula Wellnitz, and Debbie Warrington attended the conference at Snowbird.

Cultural competency - What is it? Three members from the Carbon and Emery Domestic Violence Coalitions attended the first statewide conference for "Cultural Competency in the Delivery of Domestic Violence Services" at Snowbird, Sept. 27, to find out the answer.

What makes immigrant or refugee women vulnerable to abuse by their partners? Shirley Coyne, Paula Wellnitz, and Debbie Warrington learned some of the problems associated with meeting the needs of culturally diverse and/or physically challenged victims of abuse.

Immigrant, refugee, and physically disabled women have added burdens to bear when it comes to an abusive situation. The Justice Institute of BC summarizes some of the challenges faced by immigrant or refugee women as: "disorientation - not knowing their environment or what is expected of them, which can lead to isolation.

Dependence - women may lose their status within the family because they have to rely on their children for information or advice. Language skills - Lack of adequate verbal and/or written language skills frequently results in isolation and restriction." Lisa Welze from the International Rescue Committee related a story of a refugee wife that had been abused by her husband. She couldn't speak English so her husband acted as the interpreter for the police. The husband changed the story she gave and told police he'd been the one abused by his wife.

She was immediately taken from the home and separated from the family. Other problems faced by immigrant and refugee women include not knowing the legal system, lack of employment skills, threat of deportation, and discrimination.

Tina Johnson R. N. was a presenter at the Snowbird conference with a different perspective on abuse - that of the disabled. Tina has a debilitating form of MS that has left her partially paralyzed , she requires a feeding tube,and is in a wheelchair. She is a survivor of domestic violence and a strong advocate for the disabled with the legislature.

Johnson pointed out some of the problems of the disabled like herself trying to leave an abusive situation. She stated that she had called 52 percent of the shelters in the state to see what kind of help was available for someone in her condition. None of the shelters she called could accomodate her. She strongly urged those present to look for ways to update the present shelters and make them accessible to the disabled.

October is Domestic Violence Awareness month. To enlighten the community and everyone, there is a free lunch and program on Domestic Violence at the Castle Dale City Park at noon on Oct. 16 with special guest speaker Daniel Detton. On Oct. 22, from 8:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. at the College of Eastern Utah in Price there will be a free program with lunch included. For information call 381-4730. "Cultural competency isn't merely about recognizing our differences but it is in celebrating those differences I.E. religion, skin color, or language that we find their humanity and by doing so find our own humanity." Forrest S. Cuch, Director for Utah Division of Indian Affairs.

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