Dealing with domestic abuse is already hard enough but it becomes increasingly difficult when there is a language barrier. Arlet Macareno, a victim of domestic abuse, has first hand experience dealing with the police who can’t understand her no matter how hard she tries. When police found her lying at the bottom of her stairs after a 911 call, they took her to jail instead of her husband who had just pushed her down the stairs. With limited to no english and bruises on her body, she attempted to tell the police what had happened with no success. She ended up pleading guilty to a lesser charge to put the incident behind her and get back to her young child at home.

 [Read more about how language barriers affect domestic abuse on NY Times]


Arlet Macareno, along with several other women who grew frustrated with not being understood, filed a federal discrimination lawsuit against the city in 2013. The NYPD is now required to provide training for officers responding to domestic violence incidents involving people who not speak english well. They are also required to adopt new protocols in an effort to aid victims of domestic abuse.


With 91,617 domestic incidents in 2016, police officers need all the help they can get. They are now all equipped with department smartphones so they can access tools such as LanguageLine.


“Getting accurate information on the scene to quickly determine what happened, who did it and the extent of the injuries is vital in the prosecution of domestic violence cases,”


Without the use of LanguageLine, many cases would have fallen apart before gaining any traction. Now these victims have an opportunity to be heard.

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