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Tikkun olam: Helping abused immigrant women

JF&CS has a long history of advocating for immigrants and refugees. Our work with the foreign-born began in earnest after the Holocaust with the resettlement of survivors and continued through the resettlement of Jews escaping the Soviet Union. Today, in the spirit of tikkun olam (“repair the world”), we continue to serve and advocate for the rights of refugees and immigrants coming to our community from many countries throughout the world’s trouble spots.

Through a recently-awarded grant from the FISA Foundation, whose mission is to build a culture of respect and improve the quality of life for women, girls and people with disabilities in Southwestern Pennsylvania, JF&CS will be able to further the efforts of our Immigrant Victims of Domestic Violence Project.

Unfortunately, many immigrant women who are being abused don’t know about the rights they have or even that domestic abuse is illegal in this country. Often these are women whose legal status in this country is dependent on their abusive spouse or significant other.

Through JF&CS’s Legal Services for Immigrants & Internationals (LSII), the Immigrant Victims of Domestic Violence Project provides legal services to immigrant women, including referrals for other services that help them to escape their abusive situations; and outreach and cultural competency training to community leaders and medical professionals who come into contact with immigrant women.

The grant aids JF&CS in helping immigrant women who are abused, enabling them to leave their abusers and work legally to support their families.

JF&CS has partnered with the Allegheny County Bar Foundation and the Pro-Bono Immigration Law Project to train pro-bono attorneys to assist with these cases. The agency also works with the University of Pittsburgh Immigration Law Clinic, the Women’s Center & Shelter, hospitals, health clinics and community centers, and other local agencies that work with immigrant women.

JF&CS is committed to our mission of improving the quality of life of children, families and adults of all ages, including immigrant women who need help to leave an abusive relationship.

To learn more about the important work that JF&CS does with immigrant women, visit our website. If you are an attorney and would like to volunteer your services, please contact Jamie Englert, accredited representative, at jenglert@jfcspgh.org or by calling 412-422-7200.