Racial and ethnic minorities

  Population considerations:

  • Lack of trust. Racial and ethnic minorities can be mistrusting of protective service workers, such as therapists and other professionals who provide treatment to the victim. This makes it difficult to develop the relationship that is necessary to offer the appropriate treatment services (Lindholm, 1986).
  • Attitudes towards sexual abuse. Some communities may believe that sexual assault is an unavoidable part of life (Lindholm, 1986). The attitude that sexual assault is not a cause for concern may contribute to children being at higher risk for sexual assault (Lindholm, 1986).
  • Cultural incompetence.  Most current sexual assault interventions reflect values of a larger society. Racial and ethnic minorities have different ways of perceiving sexual assault. Consequently, interventions that focus on general populations may fail to consider attitudes and beliefs that are important to racial and ethnic minorities and may be inappropriate for those groups (Phiri-Alleman, 2008).
  • Access to health care. Racial and ethnic minority groups are less likely to have regular contact with a health care provider (Hargraves, 2003). Individuals without a regular health care provider may have symptoms that go unrecognized and undiagnosed.  As a result, racial and ethnic minorities may be less likely to receive sexual assault prevention messages and treatments from health care providers. Inadequate or no health insurance. Racial and ethnic minorities are less likely to have adequate health insurance (Kaiser, 2007). As a result, they may seek care in acute care facilities or in emergency rooms.  Individuals without a regular health care provider may have sexual assault symptoms that go unrecognized and undiagnosed.

  Strategies to address these considerations:

  • Involve the priority population. It is important that individuals who are from the priority population and are both bi-lingual and bi-cultural take an active role in planning, implementing and evaluating interventions. This may include increasing the number of minority health care providers in your priority population.
  • Engage community stakeholders. Leadership and active participation by community members, especially health care providers and community religious leaders, can strengthen the credibility of intervention and respect from community members for the intervention. 
    Tailor to culture.Interventions should make culturally appropriate considerations. For example, dialogue should be translated into the primary language of that community. Interventions that incorporate visual aides should use images that represent people in that culture.
  • Provide cultural competency training. Strategies to reach racial and ethnic minority populations should be culturally relevant (NCCC). It may be useful to provide training in cultural competency to individuals who are working with a community so that they can learn more about the differences within and across communities. See Cultural Competence for more information.

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