Nuestras voces/Our Voices: Wise Latinas en la lucha

Spanish-speaking Victim Access

Victim assistance content in Spanish missing
on 80% of websites in 16 states
with 41,840,274 Latin@ residents in 2009.
The map was updated in April 2011 with new 2010 Census figures

 

 

While services have improved for Spanish-speaking survivors of sexual assault and violence by an intimate partner in some states, the vast majority of Spanish-speaking victims continue to fall through large victim service accessibility cracks. Of the 497 active victim assistance websites reviewed from June – August 2010 by Arte Sana and ALAS members, 397 or 80% did not include a single word in Spanish.

The 16 states in which the selected websites are housed each include over half a million Latin@s according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

State

Latin@ Population

Active Victims Assistance Websites in 2010

Number of words
in Spanish

Websites were reviewed and words in Spanish regarding services and programs were counted by ALAS members.
Websites utilizing non-human translation services were not included.

0 Words
in Spanish

300 –899
Words

900 Words
or More

California

13.7 million

74

*42

57%

3

6

Texas

9.1 million

68

**56

82%

1

6

Florida

3.9 million

36

31

86%

3

1

New York

3.2 million

33

25

75%

0

2

Arizona

2 million

2

***(1)

N/A

1 pdf

0

Illinois

1.9 million

30

28

93%

0

2

New Jersey

1.4 million

18

11

61%

1

3

Colorado

1 million

24

19

79%

2

3

New Mexico

915,738

13

12

92%

0

1

Georgia

819,887

15

15

100%

0

0

North Carolina

717,662

73

63

86%

0

6

Nevada

700,294

6

5

83%

0

0

Washington

687,367

16

14

88%

0

2

Pennsylvania

646,524

43

36

84%

1

1

Massachusetts

582,881

15

11

73%

1

4

Virginia

569,921

31

29

94%

1

1

TOTAL

41,840,274

497 websites

397

80%

14

38

Estimates of the Resident Population by Race and Hispanic Origin for the United States and States: July 1, 2009 (SC-EST2009-04) U.S. Census Bureau, Population Division.

* Three centers included “Hablamos Español ” and one posted “Se Habla Español” on their website.
** Two centers included scanned brochures in Spanish.
*** “Se Habla Español” are the only three words on the website.

 

Critical connections are either made or lost at the direct service level and access obstacles are not limited to legislative mandates, but are also a result of everyday management and budget decisions. Having both bilingual victim advocate staff and volunteers who are able to understand the following possible pleas for help is key.

“¡No sé qué pasó, siento como que fui violada pero no recuerdo nada, ayúdame por favor!”

“¡El maestro le faltó respeto a mija!”

“Mi jefe es un violador y nos acosa en el trabajo. ¿Qué podemos hacer?”

¿Es violación cuando tu marido te obliga a actos sexuales humillantes?

“Hay una casa al lado en donde tienen muchas jóvenes encerradas: siempre llegan muchos hombres. ¿Quién les puede ayudar?”

Without bilingual staff, centers risk promoting the further re-victimization and trauma of thousands of LEP/ELL survivors of sexual assault, intimate partner violence, and human trafficking.

The process:

•  Rape crisis centers and dual centers were identified through the RAINN and state coalition websites.
•  Center names were Googled when URLs were not available.
•  An initial search for an “Español” or “Spanish” tab was made both on the main page and in subsequent web pages.
•  A word count was made of the text found.

Since the search was for translated text developed by human translators rather than online machine translations, the two centers that offered this option were not considered in this review.  

The Purpose of this Non-funded Initiative

Arte Sana's ultimate goal is to draw attention to the unmet needs of LEP/ELL survivors in order to support the development of standards for second language victim service information on the Internet.

In 2008 there were 35 million U.S. household residents age 5 and older who spoke Spanish at home, according to the U.S. Census Bureau 2008 American Community Survey. The Unites States has the third largest number of Spanish-speakers after Spain and Mexico, and Spanish has been spoken in what is now the United States since 1565, when Spain established its first colony in Florida.

Survey results published in 2009, from the Pew Hispanic Center and the Pew Internet and American Life Project, indicate that Latino adults are increasing their use of the Internet faster than other ethnic groups.

Through this process ALAS members not only provided exhaustive volunteer support for reviewing each website and doing the tedious word count processing, they also participated in a poll regarding the recommended number of words to offer critical victim assistance information.

At least 1000 words should be included in Spanish on victim assistance websites according to the ALAS poll results.
(This page includes 899 words not counting text in the map and chart.)

Some centers with an array of wonderful programs and services offered in Spanish do not include these on their websites. By the same token, larger Latin@ populations do not necessarily lead to greater Spanish language web content. The center that serves the El Paso/Juarez region did not include any information in Spanish. We also found some relevant web content hidden a couple of tabs after the main page - that probably will be missed because of the missing "Español" tab.

Human translations only!

A couple of websites included some form of online machine translation service. Victim service agencies and state coalitions may be tempted to go this route because of the quick turnaround and the fact that some of these services are free. However, state coalition websites include technical terms, acronyms, and service-specific terminology that do not translate easily. Non-human translations do not seem to be able to adjust for the English to Spanish translation expansion rate; approximately a 16 percent increase in word count after translation, and there are idioms, culture-specific phrases and grammatical forms that only a native speaker can understand and translate accurately.

Most agencies that choose to rely on machine translations do so because they do not have the staff or have not developed a budget for materials and website content in another language. Consequently, there is no one in the agency who can understand and verify the output produced by a machine translation.

Since machine translations can be detected through their rough and at time incoherent text, agencies may suffer credibility issues with the very communities that they are striving to reach.

ALAS Volunteers: National Website Review

Olivia Alvarez

Maria Guerra

Rosa Herrin

Elisabet Mateos

Stephanie Mesones

Rosa Corrales-Ortiz

Blanca Aracely Pedigo

Aline Jesus Rafi

Monica Ramirez

Lynne Walter

Laura Zárate

ALAS Volunteers: National Website Review

The position statement on eliminating language barriers. (2004)
The national review of websites for content in Spanish. (2010)
The national timeline of Latina victim advocacy efforts. (2011)
The Existe Ayuda Toolkit now available on the OVC website.
Position Paper Regarding Workshops in Spanish at State and National Conferences (2012)


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