The Georgia Commission on Family Violence hosted its 18th annual conference in Macon at the Convention Center.
The two day event features social workers, attorneys, and other leaders in combatting domestic violence having conferences to share their best practices.
At a session 13WMAZ attended Monday, the topic was how to handle domestic violence in immigrant communities. One of the main topics discussed was Georgia's illegal immigration law, H.B. 87, which has strict policies such as checking people's immigration status when stopped for a crime.
Domestic violence leaders said the law has been detrimental in that it discourages undocumented immigrants from wanting to report incidents of violence for fear they might be deported.
"A lot of the sections of the law have scared victims into hiding," says Carolina Antonini, a lawyer orginially from Venezuela and adjunct professot at Georgia State University. "A lot of victims feel apprehensive against calling the police, they believe that when they call the police and the police discover that their statuses are not permanent or that they have no status that they will in fact end up being victimized."
However, immigration attorney Joe Rosen says there are protections avaiable and that no one should ever be afraid to call the authorities to report violence.