PROMISING PRACTICES: Ayuda’s Victim Services Interpreter Bank
On March 1, 2019, Ayuda, a legal, social, and language access provider in Washington D.C., who is also a subject-matter expert providing support on the National Resource Center for Reaching Victims, launched a Victim Services Interpreter Bank (VSIB) in Maryland with funding from the Maryland Governor’s Office of Crime Control and Prevention. There are many limited-English proficient and Deaf/Hard of Hearing residents in Maryland who fall victim to sexual assault, domestic violence, human trafficking, hate crimes, the death of a loved one due to homicide, and many other crimes. These individuals may need a forensic medical exam, therapy, counseling, safety planning, relocation assistance, and other vital services. Ayuda believes that a language barrier should not prevent these survivors from receiving compassionate and thorough assistance.
VSIB is made up of victim-centered, trauma-informed interpreters who are potentially available 24 hours a day to assist in delivering required services. VSIB also arranges to have documents translated for victim service nonprofits when communicating with clients in writing in languages other than English. VSIB was created to help remove linguistic barriers so that the needs of LEP/Deaf crime victims could be effectively met.