Safe Horizonís CEO Ariel Zwang Discusses Launch of New Spanish-Language Website with New York Daily News
Posted on: Wednesday, February 29, 2012
Safe Horizon launches new Spanish-language website to aid victims of violence and crime
Offers Latinos information on resources and services available
By Albor Ruiz
New York Daily News
Safe Horizon, the nation’s leading victims’ assistance organization, touches the lives of more than 250,000 people affected by crime, violence and abuse each year.
Thirty percent of them are Hispanic and many don’t know English well enough to seek the help and protection they need and deserve.
In order to aid Latino victims of violence and abuse Safe Horizon, recently launched a Spanish website — safehorizon.org/espanol.
The website offers detailed information on the resources and services the group provides to Spanish-speaking victims. It also has real-life stories of women Safe Horizon has helped to escape a life of fear and violence.
“We know that reaching out for help can be one of the hardest steps in the recovery process when a person experiences crime or abuse,” said Safe Horizon CEO Ariel Zwang.
Safe Horizon’s stated mission is to provide support, prevent violence, and promote justice for victims, their families and communities.
“Whether it is a case of sexual assault or rape, child abuse, domestic violence, human trafficking, stalking, legal assistance or court and community programs, Safe Horizon is there to help victims heal and regain the strength to go on with their lives,” says the group’s website.
In New York City thousands of women and teenage girls of every race, ethnicity and economic status are being punched, kicked, shot or stabbed by the people they are supposed to be able to trust and love.
While the problem is worse among poor, black and Hispanic women, domestic abuse cuts across race, national origin, educational level and economic status.
The numbers are not pretty:
Michele McKeon, CEO of the New York State Coalition Against Domestic Violence said that local domestic violence programs served more than 63,000 people in 2011. The city’s Domestic Violence Hotline answered 114,760 calls, averaging more than 310 calls per day last year.
Also, in 2011 police responded to 257,813 domestic violence incidents, which averages to more than 700 incidents per day. In addition, the NYPD’s Domestic Violence Unit conducted 73,016 home visits in 2010, a 91% increase since 2002, according to statistics provided by the NYPD and Safe Horizon.
Part of Safe Horizon’s mission, said Zwang, is to help victims find the information and support they need regardless of what language they speak or which country they are from.
The new Spanish-language page is an invaluable tool to fulfill that goal.
Particularly relevant for Latinos, added Zwang, are the Legal Assistance programs for victims of crime, torture and abuse, offering services and legal representation both in family and immigration law-related matters.
“In many cases, victims are reluctant to report violence if they are undocumented, not only for fear of the perpetrator, but also because they are afraid of the possible repercussions with the immigration authorities,” Zwang said. “We want to let them know that our staff at Safe Horizon can help them regularize their status and find asylum in this country.”
This, of course, is great news for thousands of immigrant victims.
Cecilia Gastón, executive director of the Violence Intervention Program in East Harlem shares Zwang’s point of view.
“[Immigrant victims\] are afraid to seek help because of their immigration status,” she said. “Also, they don’t have the money to rent a place, so they have nowhere to go. Add to that the language barrier.”
Obviously they need all the help they can get — and Safe Horizon is stepping up to the plate.
“It is our goal that this site — safehorizon.org/espanol — becomes a valuable resource for the Spanish-speaking community,” Zwang said.