A local organization received a grant this week to expand its services for victims of crimes here who are Hispanic and Latinx.
CasaLuz, an organization that works to prevent and reduce domestic violence and related crimes in the Spanish-speaking community, received the $199,986 grant from the United States Department of Justice’s Office for Victims of Crime (OVC) Monday.
CasaLuz provides free legal advocacy, safety planning, survivor support groups, liaison assistance with law enforcement, counseling, and community education. The group says it is the only organization in the region that provides culturally specific support.
Through a partnership with Mid-South Immigration Advocates (MIA) and Kaufman Monroe Law LLC, CasaLuz offers free immigration and civil legal services to victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking. The groups received a $600,000 grant from the Justice Department in September to support this work for three years.
Over the next two years, the new federal grant will allow the groups to expand those services to victims of aggravated robbery, kidnapping, assault, human trafficking, hate crimes, and elder abuse, as well as loves ones of homicide victims and other violent crimes.
“These services help protect victims’ rights as they navigate the complex legal system in the aftermath of a traumatic event,” reads a statement from CasaLuz.
CaaaLuz founder Inés Negrette said Hispanic and Latinx victims of violence face “enormous barriers accessing suitable services. We need strong local partners like MIA and Kaufman Monroe Law to ensure access to justice and safety or our vulnerable clients.”
The federal grant was awarded under the OVC’s Enhancing Language and Other Access to Services Program, which seeks to “break down barriers that prevent many individuals from reporting crimes and accessing the services they need after crime victimization.”
A study done earlier this year and published in Criminology found that those living in areas that have recently drawn a large number of immigrants are much less likely to report a violent crime.
In neighborhoods where 10 percent of residents were born outside the U.S., the probability of reporting a violent crime is 48 percent, researchers said. In neighborhoods where 65 percent of residents are immigrants, the likelihood of a report being filed drops to 5 percent.