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Safety Alert: If you believe your computer activities are being monitored, please access this site from a safer computer. To immediately exit this site, click the escape button. If you are in immediate danger, contact 911, a local crisis line, or the U.S. National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 and TTY 1-800-787-3224.

Limited English Proficiency

Nearly one in four women in the United States reports experiencing domestic violence at some point in her life. Immigrant survivors represent often fail to receive the support services they are guaranteed.

Under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, all organizations that receive federal funding must take reasonable steps to ensure meaningful access to individuals with Limited English Proficiency (LEP). LEP persons are those who do not speak English as their primary language and have a limited ability to read, write, speak or understand English.

According to the U.S. Census nearly 20% of people over the age of five living in the United States speak a language other than English and do not speak English very well. In order to carry out enhanced safety planning, ensure meaningful access to services, and provide critical information to assist victims in making informed choices it is imperative for Casa de Esperanza and all those assisting victims of domestic violence to overcome existing language barriers.

The first step for federally supported organizations aiming to guarantee meaningful access to LEP individuals involves an individualized assessment that balances four factors:

  1. The number or proportion of LEP persons eligible to be served or likely to be encountered by the program

  2. The frequency with which LEP individuals come in contact with the program

  3. The nature and importance of the program, activity, or service provided by the program to people’s lives

  4. The resources available to the grantee/recipient or agency, and costs

Once an organizations needs, resources and effects are clearly understood an LEP plan can be implemented and integrated with already established programs. The following represent key elements of an effective LEP plan:

  • Demographic profile of the community

  • Process for identifying LEP persons who need language assistance

  • Identifying ways in which quality language assistance will be provided

  • Training staff and volunteers

  • Outreach and education

  • Monitoring and updating LEP policy

The elements listed above help ensure a targeted yet flexible LEP plan capable of changing to meet the elastic needs of those you serve. However it is important to remember that language barriers are not internally exclusive and widely exist throughout the United States. Becoming a strong advocate for full-language access in the areas of law enforcement, courts, health services and all other programs in your jurisdiction is equally important when assisting LEP individuals.

Casa de Esperanza provides the following services under the direction of the Attorney General regardless of an individuals immigration status or English proficiency:

  • Crisis counseling and intervention programs

  • Child and adult protection services

  • Violence and abuse prevention

  • Victim assistance for victims of domestic violence and other criminal activity

  • Treatment of mental illness or substance abuse

  • Short-term shelter or housing assistance for the homeless, for victims of domestic violence, or for runaway, abused or abandoned children

  • Programs or assistance to help individuals during adverse weather conditions

Accuracy and effective communication are critical in domestic violence situations. Only by practicing consistent cultural and linguistic competency can we help protect the safety of all victims.

For more information and to view the LEP Policy Guidance issued by the Department of Justice, HHS, HUD and other federal agencies for recipients of federal funding click here.