Spring 2016 Newsletter

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How NFF is used in the training of Interpreters

Across Languages Translation and Interpretation Service (AL) is a non-profit agency in London that provides professional interpretation and translation, interpreter training, and language testing services across Ontario. Across Languages is an expert in the delivery of spoken language services for more than 100 languages and dialects.

Interpreters are trained to interpret everything that is being said so that both the English speaker and the Limited or Non-English speaking (LNES) person can understand and be understood, as if the language barrier did not exist.

Interpreter’s work in hospitals and medical centres; municipal and provincial support services; shelters and victim support centres to name a few.

As a result of government commitments to the Domestic Violence Action Plan (DVAP), Sexual Violence and Harassment Action Plan (SVHAP) and the accessibility to services for survivors of Domestic Violence, the Ontario Women’s Directorate (OWD) funds and the Ontario Ministry of Citizenship, Immigration and International Trade administers the Language Interpreter Services (LIS) program:

The Language Interpreter Services (LIS) program supports the delivery of interpreter services to enable service providers across Ontario to communicate with their clients who have limited English or French language skills, or are Deaf, oral deaf, deafened or hard of hearing, and who are victims of domestic violence, sexual violence or human trafficking.

Through the LIS program, women for whom English is not their first language and who experience or have experienced domestic violence can have access to services using a trained interpreter, so that they can fully tell their story and seek support.

Laura Comiskey is the Training Co-ordinator at AL. Laura trains and prepares interpreters to become familiar with the service providers who deliver services to abused LNES women. Interpreters are exposed to the trauma and violence experiences of women by giving voice to their stories. However, the code of conduct insists that the interpreter always remain impartial and keep everything being discussed confidential. Interpreters will not assume the role of advocate or counsellor for the LNES.

At AL, Laura provides trainees with resources and brings in experts to present and discuss domestic violence. The first goal is to educate the Interpreters in understanding the nature of power and control relationships, understand the dynamics of Domestic Violence, and challenge them to suspend judgement.

The NFF material is imperative for educating trainees. Covering issues such as:

How You can Identify and Help Women at Risk of Abuse:

  • Warning Signs of Abuse
  • Signs of High Risk (The danger may be greater if these warning signs exist)
  • Ways to Support Her
  • If she denies the abuse
  • Overcoming Your Hesitation to Help

Recently NFF interviewed Laura about how the NFF material is used in the training of interpreters. Link to the 3 minute interview with Laura Comiskey, Training Co-ordinator.

Although the interpreter will adhere to a strict code of conduct that does not allow them to advocate or support the LNES, it is still important that they understand all the material. In trainings many interpreters have realized the importance of the material and will share with family or community members. The material is translated into 16 languages.

Breaking down barriers and bringing the conversation into the open in order to keep women and children safe is what drives the NFF Campaign. Please familiarize yourself with the warning signs of Domestic Violence abuse and share the material and Contact us if you want to know more or have NFF do a presentation for your community or work group.

Neighbours Friends & Families: Backbone of other Domestic Violence Public Education Campaigns

Neighbours Friends & Families (NFF) public education resources and training are the backbone for several of the Centre for Research & Education on Violence Against Women & Children’s (CREVAWC) other successful trainings.

NFF materials cover 3 areas of support and awareness:

  1. How You can Identify and Help Women at Risk of Abuse
  2. Safety planning for women who are abused
  3. How to Talk to Men Who are Abusive

The materials are translated into 17 languages and clearly present the warning signs and risk factors of abuse in easily understood language. The resources can be  viewed, printed and ordered from the website.  The resources present and encourage a level of understanding that is supportive of the person experiencing abuse without judgment. They do not explicitly recommend or suggest the observer do anything other than be supportive and provides suggestions on how to have supportive conversations.

The later addition to the campaign Learning to See it – Name it – Check it (SNCit) – describes a process of small steps to approach and reach out to a person you expect has been abused. SNCit offers a framework for opening the door to supportive relationships. It highlights simple practices for engaging in sometimes difficult conversations.

The campaigns below are built on the foundational concepts of the NFF campaign. They also seek to involve the bystander, challenging notion that ‘It’s none of my business’ by suggesting that we all need to be able to identify warning signs of abuse and engage in supportive conversations with those who may be experiencing abuse:

  • The Make It Our Business (MIOB) campaign, originally referred to as NFF @ Work, provides information and education to help employers, unions and other workplace stakeholders to meet their obligations under the Ontario Occupational Health and Safety Act. According to the Act, employers must prevent and respond to domestic violence in the workplace. Recognizing, responding and referring are the main components of the workplace training. There are many resources available on the website including videos and print materials for sharing.
  • It’s Not Right is a National campaign for public education on abuse and neglect of older adults. Also adapted from NFF, it is referred to as Neighbours, Friends and Families for older adults. Professionals and passionate advocates from all over the country contributed to the development of the materials.  Training is offered as well as many resources including videos and print materials for sharing.