Introducing the Language Access Toolkit
Tuesday, May 26th, 2015
We are pleased to announce the release of a new toolkit for the field! “Making Sexual and Domestic Violence Services Accessible to Individuals with Limited English Proficiency: A Planning Tool for Advocacy Organizations” bridges the gap between the laws, rules, and standards of services; and the effort necessary – community assessments, program policy, staff training, etc. – to develop and implement language access services for survivors with limited English proficiency (LEP).
Creative and dedicated sexual and domestic violence programs and advocates have always found ways to improve our work toward safety, healing, and justice for those harmed by violence, and to end and prevent violence at home and in our communities.
We have often worked on issues of language access on a case-by-case basis when a survivor with limited English proficiency calls the crisis line or comes to shelter. However, if we invest in a comprehensive, proactive approach to providing assistance for individuals with limited English proficiency (LEP), all survivors will have greater access to critical services and greater success in addressing the violence in their lives. This toolkit aims to enhance our efforts to support the well-being, safety and self-determination of all survivors regardless of what language they speak.
This toolkit includes:
- Start a New Plan – a step-by-step process for developing your first written Language Access Plan
- Critical Conversations to Improve Language Access – a guide to reviewing and enhancing an existing Language Access Plan
- Language Access Plan Template – to break down the planning process into manageable pieces and make sure the final product has elements critical to a complete
The toolkit works through the different elements of Start a New Plan and Critical Conversations with review and analysis of specific:
- Practice considerations, including but not limited to:
- How can staff and volunteers accurately identify a language they don’t speak and may never have heard before?
- What does an interpreter do, and how can I know if they are doing it well?
- How can my program support bilingual advocates/protect program resources, including when other agencies pressure them to interpret, rather than providing their own language access services to survivors?
- How do I efficiently build in language access for survivors with LEP into my systems change advocacy work?
- Tools, including but not limited to:
- For management:
- Conducting community and program language assessments
- Language skills assessments
- Interpreter code of ethics and confidentiality forms
- For direct advocacy, i.e., use by and with survivors:
- Sample translated material
- Language identification cards and posters
- For management:
- Resources, such as federal law and guidance, sample plans, studies linking language access to improved outcomes, and promising
The Language Access Plan Template:
- Organizes and tracks the critical elements of language access services planning and
- Helps document for community partners, funders, and other stakeholders your program’s progress and leadership with respect to language access for
The toolkit can be accessed at http://nationallatinonetwork.org/lep-toolkit-home.