Many people in our society, including many navigating the criminal justice system, require support to communicate effectively due to limited English proficiency or hearing/vision impairments. Without adequate support to communicate effectively, victims face a barrier to accessing justice. As explained in Modules 2 and 3, the criminal justice system is complex. Victims navigating that system must be able to communicate with all those within the system in a way that works for each individual victim. Victims must be able to communicate in a manner that ensures they understand the information they receive about the criminal justice process and in a manner in which they are best able to relay information about their victimization. Effective communication is essential to law enforcement’s ability to thoroughly investigate a crime and to the prosecution’s ability to accurately assess and present the evidence.
This module will:
- Explain the importance of skilled language interpretation at every stage of the criminal justice system;
- Raise awareness of the issues unique to interpreting a sexual assault case and how to identify whether victims are communicating clearly with criminal justice professionals;
- Explain who is responsible for securing interpretation services at each stage; and
- Explain a victim advocate’s role in ensuring that a sexual assault victim can effectively communicate throughout the criminal justice process.