24/7 hotline, safety planning and support groups all part of new ALAS partnership County Executive Robert P. Astorino was joined by victim advocates and service providers as he announced $100,000 for the Westchester Hispanic Coalition to expand sexual assault and domestic violence services for Latina women through the Ayuda Latina contra Agresion Sexual (ALAS, or “wings”) program.
Giving remarks in English and Spanish, Astorino said: “It is critically important that women in a crisis situation have around-the-clock access to help. Westchester County has long partnered with the Westchester Hispanic Coalition to provide a variety of necessary and culturally-sensitive programs to the Latino community. It makes sense to partner with them once again to help Latinas who have had their safety and trust violated.”
The ALAS program will offer assistance via:
- A bilingual/multicultural, 24/7 hotline at (855) 252-7942;
- Community-based teams of volunteer Crisis Counselor Advocates;
- Comprehensive outreach, education and other services grounded in local Latino cultures.
Crisis Intervention Services will be provided to all victims either directly through the Westchester Hispanic Coalition or via referrals to the appropriate service agency, law enforcement branch or hospital. Also, 100 percent of clients will work with case managers to create individual safety plans.
Other services range from ESL programs and workforce development to housing and childcare assistance. There also will be free immigration consultations and support groups. It is expected that between 30 to 40 new Crisis Counselor Advocates will be trained and certified through the ALAS program. Those who wish to volunteer should call the Westchester Hispanic Coalition at (914) 948-8466 ext. 14.
The announcement comes as the number of Hispanics in Westchester has grown by 43 percent in the past 10 years, up to more than 207,000 in 2010. Hispanics make up 22 percent of the county’s population.
“National statistics show that one in seven Hispanic women has experienced rape at some point in her life in the United States,” said Graciela Heymann, Executive Director of the Westchester Hispanic Coalition. “The ALAS program is tailored specifically to the experiences, circumstances and family values of Latina immigrants. The end goal is not simply to provide services in Spanish, but rather to create innovative, culturally-competent programming that remains true to ‘best practices’ in the field.”