[lg policy] Language barriers prove problematic in domestic violence cases

Harold Schiffman haroldfs at gmail.com
Wed Nov 28 11:07:40 EST 2018

 Language barriers prove problematic in domestic violence cases

*Brittany Costello *
*November 27, 2018 11:16 AM*

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – This holiday season Albuquerque has seen the
devastating consequences of domestic violence. APD said there have been
several recent incidents and some that turned deadly.

While the city works to raise awareness, they're also working to improve
communication with some of the most vulnerable victims.

“It’s sort of like access to law enforcement, which everyone agrees is kind
of a right, you deserve to be safe, but you can’t get that if there's a
language barrier,” said Albuquerque Mayor, Tim Keller.
[image: Language barriers prove problematic in domestic violence cases]

Keller said language barriers are a major problem for officers and victims
of crimes, especially domestic violence.

“When you’re a survivor and are seeking resources, not only help with a
police department but resources center and you can’t access them in your
native language, it presents difficulties establishing that trust that's
really essential to that healing process for survivors,” said Natalie Saing
with the New Mexico Asian Family Center.

Saing said the Asian Family Center has been filling that void for years.
But APD is working to step up its efforts.

New city policy will require language resources to be available with every
call. It all starts with a language card.

Victims will be able to point to their language and use a newly available
officer's cell phone to call an interpreter.

“They’re kind of essential to language access,” Saing said. “Basically the
front line for language access.”

The first round of cadets trained on this specific policy and resource two
weeks ago. It will be something the entire department will be using.


 Harold F. Schiffman

Professor Emeritus of
 Dravidian Linguistics and Culture
Dept. of South Asia Studies
University of Pennsylvania
Philadelphia, PA 19104-6305

Phone:  (215) 898-7475
Fax:  (215) 573-2138

Email:  haroldfs at gmail.com

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