Last year, 48 percent of women at gender equality advocacy organisation Danner's crisis centres nationwide were immigrants, of whom 68 percent had no Danish citizenship, the organisation stressed in a new report addressing their vulnerability to partner violence.
According to the report, 17 percent of immigrant women in Denmark endured violence, while 37 percent said they knew someone who had. Most of the victims came from the Philippines, Syria, Congo, Greenland, and Rwanda.
In total, about 38,000 women are estimated to suffer physical violence in Denmark each year, while another 70,000 are victims of psychological violence. The scope of the problem, though, may be much broader, as the report hinted at a high number of unreported cases. Furthermore, the report found that immigrant women are far more vulnerable compared to their Danish counterparts, because they are more dependent on their spouses, mainly live in isolation, experience language barriers, are oblivious of their rights, and are afraid to seek help, defining their situation as 'legal limbo'.
'This confirms our assumption that it is a legitimate problem for these women, being particularly vulnerable, but we are especially concerned that there are so many women who report being victims of violence', Danner consultant Anna-Maria Mosekilde, who penned the report, told Danish Radio.
The information in the report was gathered through 127 dialogue meetings and individual counselling sessions involving 169 immigrant women from 24 different countries living in Denmark. The women surveyed found to be exposed to one or several of the five forms of violence: physical, psychological, sexual, economic, and material.
The report identified the perpetrators as 'men of various ethnic backgrounds' belonging to all social strata. Some 54 percent of the women were in a relationship with an ethnically Danish partner with Danish citizenship, while 34 percent had partners who were not ethnically Danish and without Danish citizenship. Some 12 percent were with a non-ethnic Dane who had citizenship.
The victims' deficient social contacts and the lack of contact or trust in the authorities make it difficult to find a solution to the problem, Danner concluded.