Police Must Tackle Language Barrier in Domestic Abuse Cases

In a city where more than half the 8.5 million residents speak a language other than English at home, and one in four struggles to communicate in English, it is common for a crime victim to be met by police officers who do not understand the victim’s language.
News Story (New York)

Ashley Southall
New York Times (NYT)
May 25, 2017

Organizations mentioned/involved: Legal Services NYC (LSNYC)


Ms. Macareno was one of several women who filed a federal discrimination lawsuit against the city in 2013, claiming that the police violated their civil rights by denying them interpreters. The parties reached a settlement this month that requires the police department to adopt new protocols and training for officers responding to domestic violence incidents involving victims and witnesses who do not speak English well.

Under the terms of the agreement, which was approved on Wednesday by a federal judge in Manhattan, the police department will train officers over the next 18 months on when to call on an interpreter and how to use their department-issued smartphones to reach a city-contracted service that provides immediate access to interpreters in more than 240 languages.