Domestic Violence

If you are a farmworker and a victim of domestic violence, contact us for help.

Migrant Legal Aid works with migrant victims of domestic violence and workplace violence, stranger violence (acts of hate and harassment) to inform them that reporting these crimes and cooperating with the police is crucial to becoming a survivor and becoming eligible for the fullest protection of the law, without fear of reprisals, deportation, or other prejudice.


Migrant Legal Aid’s program Migrants Overcoming Violent Environments (MOVE) protects migrant women and their children from domestic or workplace violence, stranger violence, and sexual assault by assisting victims with social and legal wrap-around services to escape their captivity, stop the cycle of violence, and live a productive dignified life. We ensure they feel comfortable with, and engaged in, the prosecution of their assailants, throughout the procedures they experience within the judicial system as they exercise their rights. Migrant Legal Aid guides individuals across the  legal bridge from victim to survivor, using tools of the legal system such as personal protection orders, divorce, child custody and support, immigration, and obtaining a green card when eligible.

The Importance of Reporting Domestic Violence

Domestic violence crimes are under-reported, even though they are the leading cause of injury to women between the ages of 15 and 44. The cycle of violence is harmful and repetitive. A woman who experiences one instance of domestic violence is twice as likely to be a victim again over a two-year period. Furthermore, abuse is not always physical; it can be verbal or mental, and take the form of threats, isolation, or forced sex.


These forms of violence against women are not often reported; it is estimated that only one-fourth of all physical assaults, one-fifth of all rapes, and half of all stalking instances perpetuated against women by intimate partners are reported to the police.

25% of Latina women report being abused during their lifetimes.

Domestic Violence and MLA’s MOVE Program

Violence against women is not rare within the Latinx community; one in four Latina women report having been abused in their lifetime. However, migrant women in the United States rarely report these crimes to the police.

MOVE helps families and children overcome violent environments and helps survivors of violence live independently of their abuser, adjust their immigration status, and earn a living for their subsistence.

This autonomy for migrant women is crucial for their children, because it means that their custodial parent can establish a permanent job, home and roots in Michigan.

Migrant Legal Aid’s domestic violence program was founded in 2008 because of a need within the community. During outreach trips, Migrant Legal Aid found notable evidence of domestic violence in the migrant housing sites and realized that there was no agency in West Michigan who prioritized helping farmworker victims of violence. Thus, the program began by collaborating with the Diocese of Kalamazoo Immigration Assistance Program and Farmworker Legal Services.

Within the first three months of the Domestic Violence Program’s installation in 2010, Migrant Legal Aid opened domestic assault cases for eight clients, which involved the safety of an estimated 25 children, and fielded inquiries from a dozen others.

Looking for Ways to Get Involved?

Community engagement is core to our success at MLA. If you want to volunteer, donate, or join our board, we would love to hear from you.

Traducción »