The Main Stream

Jun 29, 2010 10:53 PM

Shelters fear SB1070 could prevent domestic violence victims from seeking help

TUCSON - Arizona's illegal immigration law, SB 1070, takes effect July 29, 2010.

Some worry the law will have a negative impact on some women seeking help from a domestic violence situation.

Emerge is the largest domestic violence shelter and prevention services provider in southern Arizona.

"Every three days there is a domestic violence related death in Arizona," says Sarah Jones, the director at Emerge.

Jones says abused women are reluctant to get help to begin with, and SB 1070 could be another roadblock. "Anytime you put a barrier up to someone accessing services, the likelihood that they're going to access services and leave an abusive situation goes down," according to Jones.

Emerge has 120 shelter beds for women and their children. Already, Jones believes women are dropping out of programs, adding that shelter workers have seen a drop in people attending groups.

Emerge has not taken a stand on SB 1070. The agency serves everyone.

"Domestic violence agencies, according to federal law, are required to provide services to all people, and we do," says Jones. "We provide services to all people."

While Emerge isn't taking a stand on SB 1070, the Arizona Coalition Against Domestic Violence is supporting a lawsuit against SB 1070, on grounds it could hinder help for some abuse victims.

Supporters of the illegal immigration law say the shelters' fear is unfounded, and that SB 1070 is aimed at criminals and not victims.

News 4 contacted Governor Jan Brewer's office for a reaction, but has not heard back.

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