Special Announcement

Domestic Abuse Tips - Commonly used threats

Although some of those who seek help have been physically abused the majority are victims of threats, emotional abuse or economic abuse. Abusers wish to control the behavior of the victim and in many cases the abuser has assumed that the victim is ignorant of the law, has nowhere to go for help and will be powerless to prevent the abuse.

In the context of the World Bank for those who are in the US as G-4 dependants the threat by an abuser to take away their G-4 visa is a very frightening threat. The US State Department issues the G-4 visa to employees of international organizations and their dependents. Regulations surrounding the G-4 visa are too complex to explain in a short article. However, if anyone has attempted to control your behavior by threatening to withdraw your G-4 visa, help is available.

A G-4 dependent visa can be terminated only in one of two cases: the principal G-4 visa holder is no longer employed by his organization (in our case the World Bank); the legal relationship of the dependent to the staff member is terminated (i.e. divorce, in case of a spouse). There are organizations familiar with immigration and visa issues. Regardless of your immigration status you may be able to secure your visa status without the assistance or knowledge of your batterer.

Some abusers attempt to control their victims by threatening to harm the children or the parents or other relatives in the home country. Among G-4 families or dual citizen couples, abusers sometimes threaten to steal the children and return to their home country. The publication “Know Your Rights: A Victim’s Guide to the Domestic Violence Justice System”, produced by the US Department of Justice, begins with the following statement: “Injuring or threatening to do bodily harm to someone is against the law”. The same publication cites part of the D.C. Criminal Code (16-1022 Prohibited Acts [Parental Kidnapping]) which says: “No parent, or any person acting pursuant to directions from the parent, may intentionally conceal a child from the child’s other parent.” Other states have similar laws.

This means if someone is threatening to steal your children, or is threatening to harm you, your children or some other family members, that person is breaking the law.

You may have heard that staff members of international organizations are covered by “immunities”. Some abusers might try to make victims believe that, because they work for an international organization, the law in the US does not apply to them. That is not true. While the World Bank has certain immunities these do not extend to staff members “in the performance of their private obligations.”