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Increased supports needed for non-English speakers reporting sexual and gender-based violence – Byrne

10th March 2022 - Senator Maria Byrne

As thousands of Ukrainian women arrive into Ireland, there must be increased supports for non-English speakers reporting sexual and gender based violence, a Fine Gael Senator has said.

Senator Maria Byrne highlighted a report published by Women’s Aid which says that phone calls from non-English speakers to the multi-language hotline increased by 90% in 2020, with 93% of these calls coming from migrant women.

Senator Byrne said, “As we see large numbers of refugees coming to Ireland over the coming weeks and months, we must highlight the difficulties non-native English speakers have in reporting incidents of sexual violence. Some of those arriving onto our shores will have a certain level of English, but there will be many who are not fluent and are unable to communicate in the language.

“Unfortunately, women who are fleeing war and trauma are particularly vulnerable to abuse. It can be extremely daunting for those with no, or a very low level of, English to enter into a Garda station or Court and recount their experience of sexual assault, harassment or violence.

“We must ensure that additional supports, such as translation services, multi-language communications and phonelines, are available to people of all ethnicities, backgrounds and languages.

“In order for those directly involved with the reporting of sexual and gender-based violence to help victims, specialist training is required. Translit in Limerick provide a specific training course for interpreters working in the area as it is such a sensitive subject.

“The Department of Justice must consider increasing the supports available to non-English speakers, including, but not limited to, rolling out specialised training to all interpreters working in the field,” concluded Senator Byrne.



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