//Newsflash: Giving a voice to victims of violence

New Program Overcomes Language Barriers to Give a Voice to Victims of Torture, Trauma, and Sexual Violence

(ELLICOTT CITY, MD) It’s hard enough for survivors to find the courage to talk to someone about their experiences. It’s even more difficult when no one can actually understand them.  Interpreters give limited English proficient survivors vital access to services that enable them to recover and rebuild their lives.  Now, a new training program, Healing Voices, prepares an initial group of interpreters in Maryland to lend a voice to these victims.

In 2000, the federal government’s Office of Refugee Resettlement estimated that there were 400,000 torture survivors living in the United States. There are more than 200,000 adult victims of rape and sexual assault each year, according to the U.S. Department of Justice’s National Crime Victimization Survey.

“Many of these survivors are refugees and recent arrivals to the United States,” explains Marjory Bancroft, who spearheaded the program. “Without access to interpreters, they simply cannot communicate. Yet, most working interpreters are not prepared to interpret in these high-stakes, extreme settings.”

To address this critical need, Bancroft created the Voice of Love, a non-profit organization devoted to developing free resources and training for interpreters. Healing Voices, is a unique, specialized four-day pilot training that teaches interpreters the skills they require to support survivors with limited proficiency in English. The first training will be delivered in Maryland this week. To enable deserving interpreters to attend the training, the Voice of Love has granted 20 scholarships. Additional trainings are planned for Chicago and San Francisco in 2012 and early 2013.

“Our long-term vision is a world where every survivor of torture, war trauma and sexual violence who needs language assistance has access to a trained, qualified interpreter,” Bancroft explains. “Through quality interpreting and language access, we can give all survivors a voice, no matter what language they happen to speak.”

About the Voice of Love

The Voice of Love is a U.S.-based 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization devoted to interpreting for survivors of torture, war trauma and sexual violence. It is proud to announce the first pilot of a four-day training devoted to this specialize area of interpreting. For more information, visit www.volinterpreting.org, e-mail vol@volinterpreting.org or message the organization on Twitter @VOLproject.

Media contact:

Marjory Bancroft, MA
Cross-Cultural Communications
10015 Old Columbia Road, Suite B-215
Columbia, MD 21046
410.312.5599 (voice) 410.750.0332 (fax)
URL:  www.cultureandlanguage.net
Email:  ccc@cultureandlanguage.net

Download File: Healing Voices August 2012