WEST CHESTER, PA — In an effort to bolster domestic violence reporting within the Latinx community, leaders from various sectors in Chester County, Pennsylvania convened for a roundtable discussion on October 6. The meeting, led by the Chester County Sheriff’s Office (CCSO), was part of the wider observance of Domestic Violence Awareness Month and Faith and Blue weekend, a nationwide initiative promoting stronger bonds between faith-based organizations, law enforcement, and local communities.
The roundtable saw representatives from the Domestic Violence Center of Chester County (DVCCC), YoungMoms, West Chester and Coatesville police departments, Church of the Loving Shepherd, Unionville Presbyterian Church, and the CCSO. They focused on identifying effective strategies and addressing gaps in ensuring Latinx community members feel secure in reporting domestic violence incidents.
Among the successful strategies identified were the deployment of DVCCC advocates and police liaisons with the necessary language skills to assist victims navigating justice and recovery systems. The use of video technology throughout various stages of the process proved helpful for survivors with transportation issues.
However, the group recognized the need for more advocates, expanded video solutions, better understanding of domestic violence issues and the diversity within the Latinx community, Spanish-speaking personnel, increased funding, and broader community engagement. An expanded representative pool at the roundtable was also deemed essential.
A follow-up meeting took place on November 30, with new participants from the Oxford Police Department and Chester County Department of Children, Youth and Families. They reviewed the progress made since the initial meeting. One significant development is the Coatesville Police Department’s plan to adopt the West Chester Police Department’s pioneering video arraignment program for Protection from Abuse (PFA) orders. This initiative helps survivors who may not have access to transportation or feel overwhelmed in a courthouse setting. It also saves valuable time for officers, translators, and other justice personnel.
A domestic violence survivor, known as “Graziella,” shared her personal experiences at the roundtable, highlighting the fear of speaking out and the need for more multilingual support. Her account underscored the importance of educating community members about healthy relationships and recognizing signs of domestic violence.
For more information on domestic violence prevention and how to lend support, visit the Domestic Violence Center of Chester County’s website.