Domestic Violence is an ongoing issue that affects all communities in New York. Every day, families are being negatively affected by abuse, which can take a number of forms. Domestic violence can include anything from derogatory comments to extreme physical injury. But while many victims of domestic violence report incidents to police and seek help with a domestic violence law firm like Elliot Green Law Offices, there are an even greater number of individuals who are unable to voice their concerns and do not obtain the necessary assistance they need to ensure their safety. This includes a large population of non-English speaking New York residents.
According to an article in the New York Times, the Census Bureau reports that there are more non-English speaking people in New York than ever before. Unfortunately, language barriers can hinder local police’s ability to handle criminal allegations, especially those pertaining to domestic violence.
The article goes on to state that several New Yorkers have contacted emergency services like 911 following an incident, but since they are speaking in their native languages, many of their pleas for help have been ignored. Even when emergency personnel have arrived on scene, translators have not been summoned to aid with interpretation. The fact that those calling for matters of domestic violence calls are already frazzled makes it even harder for them to communicate their plights to authorities. Many victims have already voiced their frustrations regarding these obstacles when reporting crimes of abuse, and have expressed that their requests for assistance were not addressed.
Luckily, a new bill that was recently introduced offers a beacon of light for non-English speaking domestic violence victims in New York.
The bill (S.4288/A.4347), which was sponsored by sponsored by Sen. Brad Hoylman, D-Manhattan, has already passed with overwhelming support in both the Senate and Assembly. If voted into law, the legislation would require that police investigating allegations of domestic violence translate reports if they are completed in a language other than English. In addition, the bill also aims to ensure that authorities initiate protocols for the translation of these reports so that no victim ever has to be denied their right to justice.
In a state like New York, where hundreds of foreign-born immigrants reside and speak several languages from Spanish to Russian to Chinese, the need for this bill cannot be ignored.
The idea for the bill was a response to a tragic domestic violence homicide that took place in January, 2014, where Deisy Garcia and her two daughters were murdered by Garcia’s husband. Though Garcia had filed multiple abuse reports with the NYPD prior to the fatal act, authorities never launched an investigation because the reports were written in her native language of Spanish and were not translated.
Unfortunately, this isn’t the only violent incident that has gone unnoticed. There are hundreds of other domestic violence victims in New York who are suffering daily because of a lack in translation efforts.
Hopefully, this bill will provide the much-needed assistance to non-English speaking New Yorkers suffering from abuse. Yet, even if the bill passes into law or not, it’s important for anyone who is facing abuse at home to know that they have a right to contact a New York domestic violence attorney for help, who can offer help in a variety of languages. Visit the website of attorney Elliot Green at http://elliotgreenlaw.com or call 718-260-8668.