Frequently Asked Questions

Are you in need of help? Below is a list of frequently asked questions:

If I am being abused, what can I do? 

What types of help can Sneha provide?

Our goal at Sneha is to recreate the extended family model by providing you with a person to connect with in times of stress and distress.  You may be looking for a person to speak with or more concrete information, such as referrals to doctors, therapists, and attorneys.  You may be looking for temporary shelter.  You may be in significant need of financial assistance.  You may need support in attending appointments with government agencies or at court. 

What happens when I call or email Sneha?

You will be contacted by one of our board members.  You will have to describe your situation and be prepared to identify what type of help you are looking for. The Sneha volunteer will ask you for your personal information (name, address, phone number), visa status (if relevant to the case) and other information as the situation demands. Depending on the type of assistance you need, the volunteer will then give you the information you need, or put you in touch with the resources who can help you. In some cases the volunteer may have to consult other professionals to devise a suitable plan of action. 

Some women are reluctant to give their name for fear of recognition within the local community. We assure you that we take confidentiality very seriously. The nature of your call will only be shared amongst Board members.  If the assistance of community partners is needed, your consent will be obtained before sharing any information with these individuals.

If I know a woman who is being abused, what can I do?

Listen to her and support her without blame or judgment.  Let her know that she is not alone and that abuse is not her fault.  Provide her with information on organizations like Sneha.  Offer to be a contact person in an emergency.  Respect her right to self-determination and choose her own path. 

Do you provide free legal advice or counseling services? 

We have a list of immigration and family lawyers as well as therapists who are familiar with the South Asian culture and often help our clients at a reduced fee. If fees cannot be paid at the time of consultation, a payment plan can be worked out.  On occasion (depending on the case and documented financial need), Sneha has paid for such services. 

I have no money --- can you help me out? 

Sneha has helped women financially to buy necessities, such as groceries and clothes.  Sometimes we have also helped with legal fees and travel expenses. We are a 100% volunteer non-profit group, and we rely on the local community for financial support.

Do you provide counseling services? 

Sneha volunteers do not serve in the capacity of licensed mental health therapists.  However, we can direct you to therapists who are familiar with the South Asian culture and therefore understand the cultural dynamics involved in your situation. 

What do I have to do if I decide to leave my home? 

Sneha does not have a transition home. We can make arrangements for you to stay temporarily at a shelter provided by the State of Connecticut. Consider the following checklist as you consider leaving the home:

What will happen if I call 911? 

The police will come to the place from where the call was made. Most police departments respond quickly to calls of domestic violence. The first thing police officers do is to make sure no further injury will occur. They will gather facts about what happened. They will talk to anyone who was a part of, or witnessed the incident. They will also look for ‘physical evidence’ such as bruises, torn clothing, broken dishes or furniture, blood and so forth. They will decide if a crime has been committed and if any arrest should be made. 

If police determine that you need medical assistance, they will help you get it. They will also tell you about services available, including domestic violence shelter programs. They should also explain to you, if your partner is arrested, that he will be in court the next day, and that you can request a protective order. 

Will the police inform Immigration Services?

No. Immigration and the local police are separate organizations. If the police ask about your immigration status you can tell them your visa status, or say that your immigration papers are being ‘processed’. Everyone, regardless of his or her immigration status has a right to be protected from domestic violence. 

What are the effects of abuse on children? 

All children suffer when they are subjected to witnessing abuse. In addition to the psychological effects, children may, in fact, be direct targets of abuse. Studies indicate that it is better for children to live without the perpetrator than in a two-parent household that is abusive.

If a woman is being abused, why doesn't she just leave? 

There are many reasons why abused women do not leave. For many, leaving may not be an alternative. She may have nowhere to go or little or no resources in the community available to her. Shelter space, for example, is woefully inadequate in the United States, as is affordable daycare and job-training programs. She may feel that she should not deprive her children of their father. She may be economically dependent and feel that it is better for her and her children to stay in the home than face life on the streets. She may also be ostracized from her family and friends if she leaves. She may be isolated from community gatherings. 

South Asian women may face pressure to keep the stay so that the younger sister's chances of marriage will not be ruined or that family honor will be intact. In addition, because of the messages she has received from her community, she may also feel that it is her duty to keep the marriage together at all costs. She may also want the violence to end, but not the relationship itself, hoping that it will change at some point.

Finally, a battered woman also faces the most physical danger from her perpetrator(s) when she attempts to leave; her abuser(s) threaten her with violence and death if she tries to escape. 

It is also important to note that many women do leave once or more, but then return. After leaving, her struggles are not over. Many women have sought assistance from police, lawyers, healthcare providers, family members, and religious institutions; however, if they are not adequately supported, they are further trapped.

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