Responding to Latina/o Victims of Crime
Laura Zárate, Kimber Nicoletti-Martinez, Ana Isabel Vallejo  -  2012/9/19
http://ovc.ncjrs.gov/ovcproviderforum
 
 
What is the best way to encourage to heal a devastated 60 y.o. Hispanic victim of a sexual assault by a stranger?
 
1.  Lizy Ramos
 For Spanish speaking survivors, the services offered are limited. Support groups and empowerment groups are offered in English. Added to this, some survivors are not able to receive Counseling because their insurance will not cover for the Counseling sessions (and they do not meet the criteria for Crime Victim Compensation).
 
2.  Laura E. Zarate
 Just to add to the very important considerations already shared, here is some information regarding existing services. RAINN has a web page that allows you to search for local crisis centers. You could call ahead of time to verify the types of sexual assault victim services the nearest center offers. These centers exist to accompany the healing process from victim to survivor. Your state coalition is also a valuable resource and may have brochures ready for you to download. The National Alliance to End Sexual Violence includes a map that helps you locate your state sexual assault coalition. http://endsexualviolence.org/who-we-are/about-naesv Search for a Local Crisis Center http://centers.rainn.org/
 
3.  Lizy Ramos
 Thank you for all these suggestions. The victim is a female and she is legally in the U.S. Reaching out to faith communities and finding something positive to focus on, sound like an excellent approach.
 
4.  Kimber
 The most important thing is to help assure they victim that they are not to blame and to help connect them to culturally relevant sources of healing. I have worked with older victims who experience symptoms that seem completely unrelated. It is helpful to be patient, to help connect them with other older survivors, and to help connect them with support sources that are viable for them such as family, faith communities, or other groups in the community where they can feel nurtured and supported.
 
5.  Kimber
 Is the victim a male or a female? Several factors can influence how to help a 60 year old victim heal. It is important to explore with the victim how they seek help. Healing and help can come from various sources depending on the victims needs. For many Latin@s, health is viewed holistically. Physical, emotional, spiritual and mental health are viewed as one system; and not separated. What supports does the victim currently have or what has been helpful for the victim in the past? Is the family involved? Is the victim connected to a faith-based community? Does the victim practice traditional indigenous healing? Often times a Latin@ victim may experience symptoms that seem unrelated to the experience of sexual assault.
 
6.  Ana Vallejo
 Based on what you describe and from my perspective as an immigration attorney, my first concern would be to ask if there is an immigration status issue or concern. If there is then I would recommend connecting her with an attorney that can help her. She might be eligible for a U Visa. Perhaps having her concentrate on something positive as a result of something so difficult is helpful in addition to other counseling and support.
 
 
What is the best way to help assist youth Latina/o victims of dating violence/domestic violence. Is there resources available to aid in assisting youth immigrants of domestic violence and how to best intervene due to immigration status of themselves or their abusers such as their parents that may not be legal citizens?
 
1.  David P.
 Great ideas! I will definitely do more research on the SIJS and U-Visa that you all provided me. This may very well be something we can eventually put on our Latino/a brochures and resources. I just need to probably make sure I understand the process well before providing this information. Do "most" district attorney's know and understand these rules? Or is it something someone like our agency might want to educate the local legal system about? Many thanks!
 
2.  Ana Vallejo
 Part 2. U Visa. This will require the teen to collaborate in the investigation and/or prosecution of the abuser, be a victim of one of the crimes listed in the immigration statute; and has suffered substantial harm as a result of the crime. Parents could be petitioned by the “child” or they could be eligible as the primary victim if the child is under 18. For more information you can visit the USCIS Frequently Asked Questions for U Visa page at: http://www.uscis.gov/portal/site/uscis/menuitem.5af9bb95919f35e66f614176543f6d1a/?vgnextoid=1b15306f31534210VgnVCM100000082ca60aRCRD&vgnextchannel=ee1e3e4d77d73210VgnVCM100000082ca60aRCRD
 
3.  Ana Vallejo
 Part 1 1. If the child (under 21 and unmarried for immigration purposes) is out of valid immigration status, then he or she might be eligible Special Immigrant Juvenile Status (SIJS). This allows the teenager to obtain legal permanent residence based on a determination of Dependency by a state court,and findings of abuse, abandonment or neglected and that it is not in the best interest of the child to return to their home country.
 
4.  Laura E. Zarate
 Here is an example from MALDEF, of an outreach effort to reach Spanish-speaking teens. PSA re. dating violence: “VIOLENCIA EN EL NOVIAZGO” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=834pkw85F2A
 
5.  Kimber
 The best way to assist is of course to listen and help advocate for what the victim wants. There are many services available the help immigrant youth who are survivors regardless of their immigration status. It is important to understand the cultural context of the victims experience and how culture may be influencing the victim’s choices or decisions. Often times there are cultural pressures that influence a victim’s willingness to report or accept services. If you can help connect a victim with a culturally relevant service provider, this is one of the best ways to help a survivor.
 
6.  Laura E. Zarate
 Many local victim assistance centers are incorporating Spanish language outreach to local schools, faith-based, and community groups. The key is early outreach with prevention messages and accurate up-to-date information regarding local services for victims.
 
 
I work for the US Attorney's office as a Victim Advocate and see Latino crime victims on a daily basis. It is often difficult to get them to cooperate with the prosecution of our cases to hold criminal defendants responsible for the crimes that they are committing. I understand many of the reasons that they are reluctant to cooperate, but grow increasing frustrated that without their cooperation we oftentimes find it very challenging and difficult to prosecute these defendants. It also seems as if, recently, Latinos are being targeted for crimes of Robbery because of the underreporting and lack of cooperation with law enforcement? Any ideas?
 
1.  Ana Vallejo
 2.Identify and partner with immigration advocacy group that can provide legal advice. One way of diminishing distrust is to inform the victim of the availability of the U Visa. The victim has to be a victim of one of the enumerated crimes, they have, are or will be useful in the investigation and/or prosecution of the crime, and that they have suffered substantial harm as a result of the crime. For more information you can visit the USCIS Frequently Asked Questions for U Visa page at: http://www.uscis.gov/portal/site/uscis/menuitem.5af9bb95919f35e66f614176543f6d1a/?vgnextoid=1b15306f31534210VgnVCM100000082ca60aRCRD&vgnextchannel=ee1e3e4d77d73210VgnVCM100000082ca60aRCRD
 
2.  Laura E. Zarate
 “Confianza” (trust) is a key necessary element in promoting the cooperation of immigrant victims of crime. Regions that adopt Community Policing seem to be successful at engaging immigrant communities. The Austin Police Department is just one among many that have a proven track record of implementing creative immigrant outreach programs. Here are some links that maybe helpful. http://www.cops.usdoj.gov/Default.asp?Item=2461 http://www.immigrationpolicy.org/special-reports/debunking-myth-sanctuary-cities
 
 
Gracias por este foro tan importante. Hay muchos recursos legales de inmigracion para victimas de violencia domestica, pero como podemos advansar las opciones legales y servicios legales gratuitos para victimas Latin@s de asalto sexual?
 
1.  Ana Vallejo
 Translation of answer per Ana VAllejo: With regards to immigration remedies, a victim of sexual assault might have access to a U Visa. For more information about this visa you can visit USCIS web page at: http://www.uscis.gov/portal/site/uscis/menuitem.5af9bb95919f35e66f614176543f6d1a/?vgnextoid=1b15306f31534210VgnVCM100000082ca60aRCRD&vgnextchannel=ee1e3e4d77d73210VgnVCM100000082ca60aRCRD
 
2.  Ana Vallejo
 Translation of question per Ana VAllejo: Thank you for this very important forum. There seem to be many immigration legal resources for victim of domestic violence, how can we advance the legal options and free legal services for victims of sexual assault that are Latina?
 
3.  Lizy Ramos
 Tal vez contactando agencias legales que tengan abogados recien graduados dispuestos a dar ayuda gratuita a victimas de violencia domestica y al mismo tiempo adquirir experiencia como su propio beneficio.
 
4.  Ana Vallejo
 En terminos de la ley de inmigracion la victima de asalto sexual tiene accesso a la Visa U. Para mas informacion sobre esta visa puede visitar la pagina del servicio de inmigracion: http://www.uscis.gov/portal/site/uscis/menuitem.5af9bb95919f35e66f614176543f6d1a/?vgnextoid=1b15306f31534210VgnVCM100000082ca60aRCRD&vgnextchannel=ee1e3e4d77d73210VgnVCM100000082ca60aRCRD
 
 
Please provide any recommendations on how to help latina/o victims of domestic violence when the violence is generational. Specifically, she/he has witnessed mother, grandmother, aunts, etc abused throughout their childhood. Now, she/he are in an abusive relationship and justify the aggresors behavior by stating "that's the way it is supposed to be." How can a service provider assista victim in this scenario?
 
1.  Laura E. Zarate
 Cross-generational popular culture critiques of violence against women are readily available for individual or group assessment. The dicho (saying) “mejor sola que mal acompañada” (rough translation: better alone than with a bad partner) and songs like “Usted Abuso” by Celia Cruz “No Volvere by Paquita la del Barrio”, and recent songs like “Me voy” by Julieta Venegas, are among a vast array of culture-specific aids that can be used to help raise awareness about the impact of domestic violence and more importantly, offer powerful self-validation messages for moving on. The most effective presentations that we have offered include a deep assessment of the impact of abuse on multiple levels.
 
2.  Kimber
 This is truly a very challenging situation with which I empathize. Coming from a family with intergenerational family violence, I understand how it can be difficult to help a victim to understand that violence is not acceptable and that it doesn’t have to be that way. Are there other positive influences in the victim’s life? Other possible positive role models? I think it’s important to listen to what the victim needs and to empower the victim with education. Often times in this type of scenario, you have to advocate for what the victim states as their needs, empower them with education and a different set of options and then wait. Even if they won’t consider these options now, they may consider them in the future and they may indeed seek you out as a resource when they are ready.
 
 
How can we reach out to latina/o victims? At my program we do not have any Spanish speaking providers but would still like to help.
 
1.  Laura E. Zarate
 The importance of language competence in establishing confianza or trust cannot be underestimated, especially when dealing with victims of intimate partner violence or sexual violence. Virtually every state with a large or growing Hispanic/Latin population has some form of promotor(a) or community health worker program. These groups are already addressing an array of community health and safety issues and can become valuable partners for agencies wanting to upgrade their outreach. With group presentation preparation skills and public presentation experience, these allies can be cross-trained and even later become an agency’s first bilingual staff.
 
2.  Kimber
 After establishing a rapport and developing community contacts, you may want to develop a relationship or partnership with a culturally specific program/church. This will help you develop the partnership you need to start developing services that are culturally relevant. Through this partnership you would be able to provide an outreach event or educational forum that would allow you to strengthen your relationship in the community. Of course as this relationship strengthens you would want to look at ways that you could add bilingual/bicultural staff members.
 
3.  Kimber
 Then of course you need to seek to understand the needs of the community before bringing the agenda of your agency to the table. Be patient. The time will come where you will be able to talk about what services you can provide.
 
4.  Kimber
 Great question Lori! Many community programs want to serve Spanish speaking communities but may lack Spanish speaking staff members to develop the outreach. I think one of the first important steps is to learn about the community and make contact. There is so much diversity in Latino communities that it is important to learn about the community that you wish to serve. Perhaps you could start attending any local events or celebrations that are conducted by the community or churches that serve the community. It important to learn about the community then try to make contacts within the community. Are there any service providers that serve the Spanish speaking community?
 
 
Has anyane had any success in implementing a program in schools to educate youth about breaking the cycle of violence? My areas Latino population is increasingly growing and need a way to educate children about the cultural differences and prevention of sexual assault and violence.
 
1.  Laura E. Zarate
 Our experience collaborating with schools includes offering small support groups with Communities in Schools, back-to-back sessions during specific state testing periods, as well as large presentations to complete grade groups. We have also offered the bilingual “Girl Empowerment Festival para Chicas Líderes” in direct collaboration with specific Texas-Mexico border region school districts. This model was tested successfully in Wyoming as well. Learn more here: http://www.arte-sana.com/girl_empowerment_festival/girl_empowerment_festival.htm
 
2.  Kimber
 We have provided in school education in the past in Latino communities. We do tend to use a popular education approach, “theater of the oppressed” style in working with Latino youth. We have also found success using fotonovelas to talk about cultural norms shifts and sexual violence prevention. Using art and theater to engage the parents and the youth in “dialogue” is a really important step in the process.
 
 
I work as a counselor with Latina survivors of sexual assault/abuse. Do you have any recommendations for doing groups in Spanish?
 
1.  Laura E. Zarate
 Part 2 Here is a direct link to one of the Arte Sana survivor art exhibits available online. Once you click on an image, you will be able to read the message from the survivor/artist. Please contact us at artesanando@yahoo.com if you would like to receive information on how to offer your own “Corazón Lastimado: Healing the Wounded Heart” survivor art exhibit, or receive a presentation to use in small support group settings. http://www.arte-sana.com/virtual_gallery/exhibits/corazon_exhibit03/gallery_exhibit_corazon_2003.htm
 
2.  Xiomara Salgado
 What I usually do is to offer my clients a mindfulness-based stress management group as a first option. This help them connect to each other in a comfortable setting. Then, I offer the support groups for sexual assault/general crime.
 
3.  Laura E. Zarate
 Part 1. I would strongly recommend incorporating elements of "educación popular" and psycho education techniques that incorporate the arts. There are many songs that can be used to promote open discussions about survival, sexual criteria/autonomy, self-medication, and healing. Sharing images from the "Corazón Lastimado: Healing the Wounded Heart" survivor art exhibit, as well as collective art exercises can be very empowering. You can download the Washington Coalition of Sexual Assault Programs publication “Circle of Hope: A Guide for Conducting Effective Psychoeducational Support Groups” here. http://www.wcsap.org/circle-hope-guide-conducting-effective-psychoeducational-support-groups
 
4.  Kimber
 Additionally there are several good curriculums for Sexual violence support groups in Spanish. If you contact Jill Laster at the National Sexual Violence Resource Center, she can connect you with this curriculum. jlaster@nsvrc.org
 
5.  Kimber
 Rapport, rapport, rapport. The first thing to focus on is developing rapport and trust within the group before you engage in any therapeutic endeavors. Depending on the groups familiarity with each other, they may be very reluctant to engage in any group behavior. Also realize that issues may be address in the context of “other” person. This did not happen to me but rather this happened to someone else. This is frequently used to talk about something that is uncomfortable. Also you may consider utilizing some art materials to facilitate dialogue. You can use something simple such as colored pencils, playdough or paint. The art not only helps facilitate dialogue but it also reduces stress.
 
6.  Lizy Ramos
 I would suggest the possibility of doing Spanish groups not only with the survivors, but also including secondary victims/survivors. Latin communities are very family-oriented.
 
 
What is a U Visa and how would I help a Latino/a victim get one?
 
1.  Ana Vallejo
 It is a non-immigrant visa that allows foreign born victims of certain violent crimes to remain in the United States for a period of 4 years. It allows the victim to apply legal permanent residence status after 3 years of physical presence in the United States. The victim needs to show: victim of enumerated crime and has information about the crime; is has been or will be helpful in the investigation or prosecution of the crime; substantial physical or psychological harm as a result of the crime and the crime violated US law. For more information go to: http://www.uscis.gov/portal/site/uscis/menuitem.5af9bb95919f35e66f614176543f6d1a/?vgnextoid=1b15306f31534210VgnVCM100000082ca60aRCRD&vgnextchannel=ee1e3e4d77d73210VgnVCM100000082ca60aRCRD
 
 
I am a new Youth Advocate for my DV & SA agency. This is the first time we've ever had a position like this. In our smaller community we do have a pretty large population of Latino/a members of the community. The problem I am facing is how to best serve this population and where a good place is online that offers resources for this specific population, but more geared for youth between the ages of 14 to say 20? Any more ideas? All suggestions are greatly appreciated!
 
1.  Laura E. Zarate
 The “Existe Ayuda Tooklit” located on the Office of Justice Programs page includes many materials to enhance outreach efforts to Spanish-speaking victims of sexual violence and communities. http://www.ovc.gov/pubs/existeayuda/tools/index.html
 
2.  Laura E. Zarate
 1. Get to know who what community groups already exists, especially promotor(a)s or community health workers. 2. Introduce yourself and make yourself available for pláticas (small talks) en español about any of the SA/DV issues that are affecting the community. 3. Attend their meetings, hand out your business card and brochures (in Spanish) or better yet - invite them to help you create original products! 4. Join local listserves and/or prepare a contact list to notify your new contacts of available training opportunities and events. 5. Offer your services constantly: ask for 15 minutes during coalition meetings and up it to a full in-service presentation. The more they learn about the issues, the more your services will be requested.
 
3.  Kimber
 The parents in the community were experiencing communication barriers caused by cultural shifts that occurred since the youth were growing up in U.S. communities. They identified the solution to be for parents to educate teens about these problems but were struggling communicating. We started by talking about “growing up between two cultures” utilizing “theater of the oppressed” style approach to help bridge the cultural gaps that existed between the immigrant parents and their Americanized children.
 
4.  Kimber
 Thank you for your question. I would definitely suggest that you connect with Casa de Esperanza and Arte Sana who both have great resources available on their websites. Also I would say as in a previous question answered that you need to spend some time getting to know the community and learning how they identify their needs. I have worked with immigrant youth in communities where there were large problems with gang violence, teen pregnancy and dating violence.
 
 
What are the key requirements to obtain a U Visa?
 
1.  Ana Vallejo
 It is a non-immigrant visa that allows foreign born victims of certain violent crimes to remain in the United States for a period of 4 years. It allows the victim to apply legal permanent residence status after 3 years of physical presence in the United States. The victim needs to show: victim of enumerated crime and has information about the crime; is has been or will be helpful in the investigation or prosecution of the crime; substantial physical or psychological harm as a result of the crime and the crime violated US law. For more information go to: http://www.uscis.gov/portal/site/uscis/menuitem.5af9bb95919f35e66f614176543f6d1a/?vgnextoid=1b15306f31534210VgnVCM100000082ca60aRCRD&vgnextchannel=ee1e3e4d77d73210VgnVCM100000082ca60aRCRD
 
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