Protection-from-abuse orders available in more languages
Pennsylvania court officials removed a barrier for non-English-speaking domestic abuse victims seeking protection, advocates say.
The Administrative Office of Pennsylvania Courts made available protection-from-abuse application forms in several foreign languages this month.
“We know how complicated the legal system is for even English speakers, so when we have non-English speakers, it can be that much more complicated and terrifying,” said Ellen Kramer, legal director for the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Domestic Violence.
The new forms are available in Arabic, simplified Chinese, French, Haitian Creole, Khmer (Cambodian), Korean, Polish, Portuguese, Russian and Vietnamese. Forms in Spanish, the state's second-most frequently used language, have been available for years.
They are available by clicking on the “UJS Forms” tab at the bottom of the state courts website, www.pacourts.us. Near the bottom, under the heading, “For the Judiciary,” are the bilingual forms.
“This goes hand in hand with the courts' desire to promote equal access to the court and its resources regardless of race, gender or ethnic background,” said Art Heinz, a spokesman for the office.
The Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency provided $200,000 for a company to determine the most-spoken languages, write a template and publish the forms.
Domestic violence centers and Common Pleas courts relied on a small network of university professors or family members to translate for people who did not speak English. In cities such as Pittsburgh and Philadelphia that generally was not a problem, but advocates said it was difficult in rural areas.
Because the number of Pennsylvania residents who speak a language other than English increased in the past decade, officials said it was time to take action. The number of non-English speakers rose to 10 percent in 2010 from 8 percent in 2000, census data show.
Domestic abuse advocates in Pittsburgh say they've seen a rise in the number of people who speak little or no English and request a PFA order.
Shirl Regan, president and CEO of Women's Center & Shelter of Greater Pittsburgh, said the new forms might help prevent victims from going back to dangerous situations.
“We think this is going to be a growing issue as our population of non-English-speaking people grows,” Regan said.
Adam Brandolph is a staff writerfor Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-391-0927 or email@example.com.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Home price gains slow for 6th-straight month
- Liriano, Pirates beat Giants, inch closer to lead in NL Central
- Starkey: Would one big move kill Pirates’ future?
- McKeesport police arrest teen on gun charges
- Steel Valley school board president seeks donation policy
- Pleasant Hills council awards paving contract
- Dying trees removed from Ford City park
- Pirates inquire about Red Sox LHP Lester
- Steelers offensive linemen looking to build on strong 2013 finish
- Big transportation wish list pitched to state commission
- PennDOT response fails to satisfy New Kensington’s safety concerns about Route 366