OVC Provider Forum Transcript

Addressing Communication Barriers When Serving Crime Victims
Mary Wambach, Laura Zarate  -  2015/7/22
We fund the rape crisis centers across our state, and require them all to maintain TTY lines. We know this is an antiquated method of communication, and no RCC has had a TTY call from a survivor in the past 3 years. Additionally, agencies are converting to VOiP/digital, which does not support the analog TTY. Should we stop requiring the TTYs? What should we require in their place to facilitate communication w people who are Deaf or hard of hearing? Only 1 RCC has a staff member who is fluent in ASL, and they have video relay. The other RCCs do not. Thank you!
1.  Mary E Wambach
 I researched - although some individual Deaf DV/SA programs (with deaf staff or those fluent in ASL) offer direct videophone services, none of the regional or national hotlines offer this. VP to VP allows direct shat, and while there are safety measures that need to be taken, it is more effective for many deaf victims. The movement to fund and implement a national direct VP - to VP service is at https://www.change.org/p/u-s-house-of-representatives-expand-advocacy-services-for-deaf-hard-of-hearing-survivors-of-violence-and-sexual-assault?recruiter=69474570&utm_source=share_petition&utm_medium=facebook&utm_campaign=autopublish&utm_term=des-lg-no_src-reason_msg&fb_ref=Default
2.  Mary E Wambach
 I'm having brain freeze - a part-time direct VP to VP service was recently set-up as a demo project. If you can contact OVC later today or tomorrow, they can give you my email for follow-up and/or I can provide them with the specific info! Be aware that some deaf people feel that "the community is too small" and do not want face to face services...also, an abuser can observe VP discussions without being seen by the victim, so this needs a lot of training and caution!
3.  Mary E Wambach
 I'm going back to explain something: to receive "videorelay" calls, you do not need a videophone! The videophone is used by the deaf person, the deaf person calls videorelay, and the ASL interpreter on the videorelay calls your "regular" phone. Note: PLEASE advise all videorelay callers to delete the phone number and call as soon as they are done! Otherwise the abuser may be able to see it! Thanks!
4.  Mary E Wambach
 Hi, and sorry for the delay - technical issues! Most deaf people do not use TTY's - we use videophones where broadband/DSL is affordable and available TTY's do not connect to videophones...many hard of hearing people use CapTel or CaptionCall, which mesh with 'regular' phones, as does 'videorelay'. I would say - for now, keep your TTY and do staff skill refreshment, and get training for staff to receive videorelay calls! Hearing people are used to immediate response when they pick up the phone, and deaf callers often need minute to see the ASL interpreter sign that the phone was answered. Calls get dropped and miscommunication occurs because all interpreting is on a time delay.
5.  Cin JuarezChoza
 I had this question as well. Are online hotlines that offer services via chat a viable option for local RCCs?
How effective are translated resources compared to resources specifically made for a community? Is it important to have resources that are created for specific communities in their language and why?
1.  Cin JuarezChoza
 I find a multi pronged approach to interpretation and adaptation of information to meet the needs of the target audience is a good way to get resources to communities.
2.  Laura Zarate
 You can access a position statement created in 2004 by ALAS (the national Latin@ alliance against sexual violence) with some language considerations and specific recommendations for "Eliminating Barriers to Services for Latin@ survivors of Sexual and Intimate Partner Violence" http://www.arte-sana.com/press_releases/pr_alaspositionstatement04.htm
3.  Laura Zarate
 Documents created by and for target communities (via direct and online focus groups) are definitely superior to those documents that have been translated. Documents translated by fluent victim advocates, and/or community volunteers with translation skills, or by professional translators may also be effective if they undergo a community review process. The least effective and potentially confusing documents are those that is have just undergone literal translations.
How can you work together with other service providers who are racist or not culturally sensitive and cannot see/check their own bias?
1.  Laura Zarate
 Carmen - here is part 2 of my response with online resources and recommendations. The Women of Color Network’s Endangerment and Call to Action Initiative http://www.wocninc.org/projects-initiatives/endangerment-and-call-to-action-initiative/ In 2014, ALAS member developed this list aimed at promoting Latin@ advocate retention in victim services. http://arte-sana.com/images/constant_contact/latina_advocacy_action.jpg
2.  Mary E Wambach
 Part II. Those who discriminate or are racist never appreciate being told that they are :-) I try to engage them by asking deep questions about their own knowledge, listening, and then saying something like "WOw - you're clearly an expert, so glad to know you. Now, I'd like to share my areas of expertise and want to make sure I'll have your attention and respect..." Go from there.
3.  Laura Zarate
 Dear Carmen, rather than advocates of color needing to learn how to work with racist or biased service providers, the victim advocacy movement should work to prevent toxic working environments. This issue is one that has plagued our work for some time. Those interested in preventing the revolving door of WOC advocates -that not only expels skilled victim advocates, but also weakens the community relations they have cultivated- may find the RESHAPE Newsletter from 2001, as well at the following publications and position statements helpful. http://www.wcsap.org/sites/wcsap.huang.radicaldesigns.org/files/uploads/working_with_survivors/new_directors/Reshape-Diversifying-Leadership-01.pdf
4.  Mary E Wambach
 Hi! This is a tough one. I have given workshops about cultural commonalities (in schools and agencies) to enable staff and others to literally walk-through their own values while also seeing others. They were very effective. I will be back in one sec with prat II.
What can we do to prepare volunteers to respond to the unique needs of Latin@ victims?
1.  Laura Zarate
 Training regarding diversity within diversity issues, cultural assimilation, acculturation, the role of military and law enforcement in immigrant countries of origin, differing Latin@ identities, as well as the possible level of ‘othering’ of Latin@s in a given state, are all important issues to be aware of in order to effectively assist Latin@ victims. Training in Spanish is also highly valued by Latin@ advocates new to the field, who are often charged with meeting a host of needs with extremely limited resources.
When we talk about Title IX, Clery Act, Campus Save act how are we addressing language access in the conversations? I recently participated in a case where the Campus Investigator asked a victim to translate all the emails/recordings from Spanish to English. I was able to intervene by advocating and requesting a translator/interpreter. However, it was the first time that someone had made that request and there were some concerns raised.
1.  Mary E Wambach
 Ok - Mary here, and I think this may be one for Laura, as spoken language translation is NOT covered by ADA. At the same time, so glad you were there! It's hard enough to deal with being a victim without also being expected to translate often complicated documents!
Why is it important for Victim Assistance Programs to implement protocol for obtaining qualified interpreters for deaf victims?
1.  M Sullivan
 A great place to start is to read Title II of the ADA Communications §35.160 General. This section covers the obligation under the ADA for state and local gov't. Title III covers public entities.
2.  Mary E Wambach
 Hi Timothy, and apologies - I could not get in before! Important because only certified professional interpreters have skills and confidentiality code to assure best communication and victim safety.
Are there any standards for Law Enforcement in the use of interpreters? Families of crime victims are being used as interpreters. It impacts the investigation since it can create inconsistencies in declarations
1.  Laura E. Zarate
 Unfortunately the same level of enforced standards does not seem to exist in practice when it comes to the use of Spanish-language interpreters by law enforcement, first responders, detectives, or detention personnel. Actual access to an interpreter very much depends on the state or city in which victimization occurs and the particular police department involved. Victim advocates have reported that some police officers have actually hung up on callers who speak Spanish and millions continue suffer the consequences of systemic English-only practices and band-aid interventions.
2.  Mary E Wambach
 Hi Katryn: excellent question and it comes up often. Yes - Law Enforcement is required to comply with ADA, and most states have state laws about using certified ASL interpreters. Family, friends, bystanders, etc. whether skilled in ASL or trained, are NOT neutral or confidential and can compromise not only victim safety, but the case itself. Cases have been throw n out of court due to 'bad' interpreters.
Is there a law requiring translated (either by a court representative or in writing) court documents for people receiving Protective Orders? Or is there a way to train staff at supervised visitation centers to properly translate court documents to custodial and noncustodial parents with protective orders?
1.  Inger Bjerknes
 Is this issue not covered under the People With Disability Act.
2.  Laura E. Zarate
 While language provisions are in place in many jurisdictions, often new (or in some cases the first) Spanish-speaking victim advocates of an agency are on their own when it comes helping Spanish monolingual survivors navigate the legal system. TexasLawHelp.org and others offer some forms in Spanish on their website. http://texaslawhelp.org/resource/protective-orders-fact-sheet?lang=ES “Executive Order 13166 Limited English Proficiency Resource Document: Tips and Tools from the Field” is also a good resource. Agency's need to provide advocates and volunteers with the necessary training and resources to assist survivors with multiple needs. An agency archive system of documents translated or created by bilingual advocates can also be updated as tools for future staff.
3.  Mary E Wambach
 HI! this is a tough one, but many deaf people have limited English. Translation into ASL is required legally, but I always go one more step and write in simple English, so the victim can refer to the doc again later.
How do I as a victim advocate gain credibility in a community made up of different culture or race? Sometimes,in crisis siturations, this needs to happen quickly.
1.  Laura Zarate
 Great question Betsy - agency visibility is key! So many communities are not even aware of existing victim services *OR* volunteer opportunities. The more a marginalize community can learn about what an advocate does and how its members can become welcomed partners in violence prevention, the more confianza or trust will be cultivated. Promotora/community health worker groups can play a key role in community engagement. Many victim assistance agencies and some state coalitions across the nation have incorporated promotora training into existing programs or have created specific projects.
2.  Laura Zarate
 To Mary’s point re. “those from other countries - Mexico, as an example - do not always use or understand ASL!” This article verifies that many sign language variations also exist, depending on the country of origin. It is very important gain an awareness of the diverse cultural identities in your region. Sign Language - Sign Language in Spanish Speaking Countries http://deafness.about.com/cs/signfeats2/a/spanishsign.htm
3.  Mary E Wambach
 I believe that Laura will have some tips, too, but this does happen a lot! I always advise: put aside assumptions. Tell the person as well as you can that you want to help, and ask them to help you do this. WIth a deaf person, if you cannot do ASL, write VERY simple English until you have a grasp of their skills. Proceed as you can until you can get an interpreter. BTW: those from other countries - Mexico, as an example - do not always use or understand ASL! Sign language is not universal. The person may speak/speechread in their 'mother' language.
Special approaches for dealing with victims of domestic violence?
1.  Laura Zarate
 Steve, I have found the incorporation of the arts and popular culture into small group presentations in Spanish as very effective communication tools for addressing consent and victim-blaming assumptions with Latinas. Through interpretations of pop culture and 'oldies' song lyrics for example, participants are comfortable expressing opinions and experiences that may have otherwise been be too intimidating to share.
2.  Mary E Wambach
 Hi Steve! Can you let Laura and me know which community/communities you're speaking of, or do you mean both deaf/hearing loss and Latina? Thanks!
Although we have bilingual police officers and one that knows sign language, what other recommendation can you offer beside using a child? Thank You
1.  Carmen Mendez
 I am grateful for the responses, reminders, and recommendations. For clarification, the officers are very well aware of not using children and/or defendantss as interpreters. Also, the language line is used in our emergency communication center. Thank you again and enjoy the day.
2.  Laura Zarate
 Carmen - I completely agree with Mary regarding *never* using children to interpret for adult victims/survivors. There continues to be a grave lack of specialized bilingual crime victim advocates. Bilingual/bicultural staff (advocates and law enforcement personnel) will only be able meet the growing needs, once these positions are adequately budgeted for in accordance with community needs. Temporary alternatives could include the use of a language line, as well as the cultivation of a trained volunteer interpreter pool.
3.  Mary E Wambach
 Hi Carmen! It's great if Officers have some ASL, but even if they're certified ASL interpreters, they cannot both ask questions/participate in the interview AND interpret. As for using children - the broader DV/SA movement and the deaf DV/SA programs have said for years that it is child abuse to expect ANY child to interpret for anyone ever. An excuse might be made if a parent or sibling were dying, but absolutely not for a DV/SA interview or crisis!
Victims with intellectual and other developmental disabilities sometimes have difficulty "typically" communicating. What programs/resources exist to help train the many professionals who will work with this population, from law enforcement to systems'- and community-based victim advocates to SANE, on strategies for effective communication?
1.  Mary E Wambach
 Hi Jean - one of my favorite questions and also activities! I have trained close to 5,000 law enforcement and others on this, most recently in Mesa, AZ, last year. The NAtional Center for Child ABuse Prevention in I think AL is having a conference on this later this year. As you say, professionals need training and support for those with cognitive disabilities and ASD> ANother resource: the DIsability-Abuse forum - you can get info by contacting Nora Baladerian, Ph.D in Los Angeles, CA
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