Over 25 million U.S. residents–almost 9%–identify as someone who speaks English as a foreign language. As the diversity of the U.S. continues to grow, sexual assault services providers continue to find ways to engage with and make their services accessible to all members of their communities. In addition to being the right thing to do, language accessibility is also legally required of federally funded programs. Coalitions deliver guidance, training, and tools to member programs for providing language access while ensuring that coalition programming is accessible to advocates who speak English as a foreign language.
Language access is an essential part of trauma-informed and anti-oppressive advocacy. This ReShape addresses language access: civil rights compliance, creating policies and procedures, training programs, and implementing a language access plan. We’ve included an article on a roundtable conversation with coalitions about language access, as well as links to many resources and publications on language access for those with limited English proficiency, who are Deaf/hard of hearing, or blind. This proactive approach to assisting survivors who have limited English proficiency can reduce obstacles for survivors and provide advocates with the tools and support to provide excellent services to all survivors.