Language Access

Language Access

How do limited English speakers navigate support systems?

In 2016 we reached a settlement as the organizational plaintiff in Legal Services’ lawsuit against the NYPD on behalf of limited English proficient (LEP) survivors of domestic violence who had been denied interpretation by the NYPD. The settlement affirms that LEP domestic violence victims are entitled to certified interpretation when interacting with NYPD and mandates that office must carry NYPD-issued cell phones with direct access to language line and discontinue the practice of using children and/or bystanders as interpreters.

At VIP an estimated 60% of our clients report Spanish as their primary language. We know first-hand the difficulties our clients can have navigating city systems and other resources because of limited English proficiency (LEP). Therefore, VIP is committed to making its services accessible to everyone regardless of language or reading ability. The most successful language access plans include a written, agreed upon language policy, the effective use of technology and staff training.1

In 2017, thanks to a grant from the Communities of Color Nonprofit Stabilization Fund (CCNSF), VIP was able to partner with Casa de Esperanza to work on accomplishing these goals. The first project included making our website more accessible to Spanish speakers of all levels and others with LEP. This is a constant work in progress, but VIP is proud of the strides made to reach this goal. A language access plan was also created to ensure every staff person at VIP is trained on how to serve LEP individuals and make their experience equal to those who speak English. VIP is dedicated to language access in multifaceted ways.

VIP pledges to continue to strive for language accessibility within our own agency and advocate for the rights of its clients and all LEP individuals.

1. Wilson, C.E. (2013). Collaboration of nonprofit organizations with local government for immigrant language acquisition. Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly, 42(5), 963-984.

At Violence Intervention Program, Inc., an estimated 60% of our clients report Spanish as their primary language.