Hispanic Clients – “Hispanic Victims of Family Violence, A Profile of MSCFV Clients, July 2013 to June 2014” Ovwigho, April 2103
When MSCFV first began in 1980, 1.5 percent of Maryland’s population was Hispanic. By 2010, Hispanics accounted for 8.9%, more than 5 times the percentage in 1980. MSCFV recognized the growing need to have victim services for Spanish-speaking clients and for more than a decade MSCFV has had bilingual staff to provide services.
Between July 2013 and June 2014, 58 Hispanic victims and their 80 children received services from MSCFV. This represents about 15% of victims entering services.
Caroline, Queen Anne’s and Talbot counties each have a larger percentage of Hispanic clients than would be expected from their population. For instance, 14% of Talbot County clients are Hispanic although Hispanics represent only 5.8% of county residents.
Slightly more than half of Hispanic clients are new to the agency. The average Hispanic client is a 31 year old unmarried woman with one (35%) or two (33%) children. Hispanic victims typically have low education levels, with two out of three (65%) lacking at least a high school diploma. A little more than half has earnings from employment; 24% report no income at all when they first come to MSCFV for services. The average Hispanic client received MSCFV services for 3.5 months. This is significantly longer than the average of two months for other MSCFV clients.
Most Hispanic victims who receive MSCFV services experience abuse at the hands of a boyfriend (67%) or spouse (52%) who lives with them. A significant minority of Hispanic victims (28%) have left their abuser at least once before. Half of Hispanic clients come to MSCFV for services after a specific abusive incident. Police are involved in most of these specific incidents.
BILINGUAL SERVICES PROVIDED TO VICTIMS
All services will be provided in English and Spanish. MSCFV has a model program and service delivery system for Spanish speaking victims and immigrant battered women.
Bi-lingual staff is available 24/7 to respond to hotline calls, provide crisis response services to area hospitals and court commissioner’s offices, provide counseling services and work with shelter clients.
Bilingual Staff provide translation and interpretation services to attorneys who represent clients in emergency civil proceedings and they provide emergency legal advocacy
Specialized training about Hispanic victims is provided in English and Spanish
Assistance to Immigrant Battered Women is provided through assistance with filing applications for visa status changes available through the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). MSCFV staff collect the necessary documentation then refer the case to Immigration Attorneys located at AYUDA. MSCFV has entered into an Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) as part of AYUDA’s VAWA Legal Assistance Grant, to provide Immigration Attorney representation to MSCFV clients. Attorneys come to the agency’s Administrative Office to implement intakes, meet clients and begin their representation.
MSCFV brochures, information packets and information for victims to sign are provided in Spanish.
One shelter room is dedicated to Spanish speaking clients and is culturally sensitive in its furnishings.
- The Spanish speaking television station is available in the shelter for Spanish speaking clients and children.