Helping Individual Survivors with LEP Access Community Services
Despite Title VI’s enactment decades ago, advocacy is still required in many communities for services to be fully accessible to survivors with LEP. As new immigrant communities continue to move to the US and into more parts of the country, the need to build capacity to serve new community members is ongoing.
After you have identified the language spoken by a survivor, consider providing him or her with a pocket or purse card that can facilitate their access to interpreters by other community agencies. These let others know that the survivor has limited English proficiency, identifies the language they speak, and formally requests language access in accordance with Title VI. You may want to accompany the survivor on the first few uses of the card so they can test this strategy with your support.
If no interpreter is provided:
- Appeal to the agency’s efforts to be accessible and responsive to the community. All persons must be able to communicate effectively and understand everything in order to participate to the best of their abilities and make informed decisions. Lack of language access services is recognized as a barrier and a form of national origin discrimination.
- Inform or educate the agency that if they receive federal funding, they are obligated to provide language access services for individuals with LEP.
If an interpreter is not qualified or is behaving unethically:
- Check the LEP plan for the organization or system to identify the process to file complaints.
- Offer training on the basics of language access, making sure to include information on interpreter responsibilities, codes of ethics, and confidentiality agreements.
- Offer resources such as this toolkit and referrals to interpreter and translator associations in your community or state, if available, or to these national associations: