Language Access Policy
The Network recognizes that providing meaningful language access is a critical function of ensuring safety and security for survivors of gender-based violence. The policy of The Network is to ensure meaningful communication with community members who have Limited English Proficiency (LEP) as well as communication of information contained in vital documents, including, but not limited to, resources for survivors and training materials for advocates.
Language assistance will be provided for free for survivors contacting the Illinois Domestic Violence Hotline (The Hotline). We offer translation via a language access line in 240+ languages. For certain languages, proficient bilingual staff are available.
At the Network, language assistance will be provided for free through translators or proficient bilingual staff at training and outreach events, and when providing technical assistance. All requests for language assistance for events will be honored if made at least a week in advance. For technical assistance trainings, all requests for language support will be accommodated if made at least two days in advance. All staff will be provided notice of this policy and procedure, and staff that may have direct contact with individuals with LEP will be trained in effective communication techniques, including the effective use of an interpreter. All interpreters, translators, and other aids needed to comply with this policy shall be provided without cost to the person being served, and community members will be informed of the availability of such assistance free of charge.
The Network will conduct a regular review of the language access needs of our community, as well as update and monitor the implementation of this policy and these procedures, as necessary.
- IDENTIFYING PERSONS WITH LEP AND THEIR LANGUAGE
When a person contacts the Illinois Domestic Violence Hotline, Victim Information Resource Advocates (“VIRAs”) will check in on their safety and language needs to ensure the person has access to the Hotline. VIRAs will ask, “In what language do you prefer to receive services?” If a proficient bilingual VIRA is available, the caller will be matched with that VIRA. If the language access line is needed, the caller will briefly be put on hold while the VIRA connects with the language access line, bringing in an interpreter.
The VIRA will briefly talk with the interpreter, asking the interpreter to interpret everything that is said, without adding, deleting, or changing the meaning of anything. The VIRA will explain that if the interpreter needs clarification of a term, the interpreter should ask the VIRA to clarify, rather than attempt to explain the term to the caller. VIRAs will ask interpreters to speak in the first person. VIRAs will rely on this guidance for interacting with a caller utilizing an interpreter. VIRAs will speak slowly and clearly in plain English. They will ask one question at a time and say one sentence at a time, leaving space for interpretation and responses.
The Network will work with people with LEP to promptly identify any language and communication needs when they reach out to the Network. If they plan to participate in Network trainings, events, or technical assistance, the signup forms will include a section to request language assistance for those with LEP or who are hard of hearing. The Network will honor all requests made at least a week in advance of trainings or events.
- OBTAINING A QUALIFIED INTEPRETER
Communications Associate Ellie Immerman (email@example.com) is responsible for:
(a) Maintaining an accurate and current list showing the name, language, and hours of availability of bilingual staff;
(b) Contacting the appropriate bilingual staff member to interpret, in the event that an interpreter is needed, if an employee who speaks the needed language is available and is qualified to interpret;
(c) Obtaining an outside interpreter if a bilingual staff or staff interpreter is not available or does not speak the needed language.
Heartland Alliance has agreed to provide qualified interpreter services. The Network will contact Heartland Alliance when translation or interpretation services are needed.
- PROVIDING WRITTEN TRANSLATIONS
(a) When translation of vital documents is needed, each department in The Network will submit documents for translation into frequently-encountered languages to People and Operations Coordinator Andrea Huber (firstname.lastname@example.org).
(b) The Network will provide translation of other written materials, if needed, as well as written notice of the availability of translation, free of charge, for individuals with LEP. Translations of documents shorter than 10 pages will be made available within 3 weeks of requests. For longer documents, Network staff will be in touch with individuals with LEP requesting translation about a reasonable timeline.
(c) The Network will set benchmarks for translation of vital documents into additional languages over time.
- PROVIDING NOTICE TO PERSONS WITH LEP
The Network will inform persons with LEP of the availability of language assistance, free of charge, by providing written notice in languages persons with LEP will understand via translation tools on the Network website.
- MONITORING LANGUAGE NEEDS AND IMPLEMENTATION
On an ongoing basis, The Network will assess changes in demographics, types of services, or other needs that may require reevaluation of this policy and its procedures. In addition, The Network will regularly assess the efficacy of these procedures, including but not limited to mechanisms for securing interpreter services, equipment used for the delivery of language assistance, complaints filed by persons with LEP, feedback from community members, etc.
- REASONABLE ACCOMMODATIONS
All Network trainings, events, and technical assistance signups will include a section to request reasonable accommodations. After The Network receives the request, it will engage in an informal process with the requester to clarify what they need and identify the appropriate accommodation. The Network understands that disclosing a disability is a personal decision. When an individual provides information about a disability, The Network will keep it confidential. Beyond accommodations, the Network is also dedicated to ensuring it builds inclusive spaces for its trainings, events, and technical assistance. The Network will regularly reassess how to be more inclusive of community members with varying needs and abilities, and welcomes feedback on how to better include community members.
- COMPLAINT PROCEDURE
Complaints about this policy or accessing accommodations or feedback can be made over email to email@example.com.