Create greater access
Helping individual survivors with LEP access community services
Despite Title VI’s enactment decades ago, advocacy is still required in many communities for services to be fully accessible to survivors with LEP. As new immigrant communities continue to move to the US and into more parts of the country, the need to build capacity to serve new community members is ongoing.
After you have identified the language spoken by a survivor, consider providing him or her with a pocket card that can facilitate their access to interpreters by other community agencies. These cards let others know that the survivor has limited English proficiency, identifies the language they speak, and formally requests language access in accordance with Title VI. You may want to accompany the survivor on the first few uses of the card so they can test this strategy with your support. See an example of a language card.
If no interpreter is provided:
- Ask to speak to a manager and remind the manager that all persons must be able to communicate effectively and understand everything in order to participate to the best of their abilities and make informed decisions.
- Inform or educate the agency that if they receive federal funding, they are obligated to provide language access services for individuals with LEP. View a copy of Title 6 Civil Rights Act.
If an interpreter is not qualified or is behaving unethically:
- Check the organization’s LEP plan for the or system to identify the process to file complaints by requesting to see a copy of their LAP plan. Organizations who receive federal funding, even when funds are passed through state administrations, are required to provided reasonable language access accommodations.
- Offer training on the basics of language access, making sure to include information on interpreter responsibilities, codes of ethics, and confidentiality agreements. To requests technical assistance and support on LAP training, please contact us at
- Offer resources such as this toolkit and referrals to interpreter and translator associations in your community or state, if available, or to these national associations: