Written by Betsy Abraham, Community Support Services

Domestic violence can happen to anyone. It doesn’t matter their age, race, sex or nationality—or the language they speak. Mecklenburg County attracts people from around the world. As a result, it’s important that those who don’t speak English know where they can get help in case of domestic violence. The Community Support Services Prevention & Intervention Division provides care to Spanish-speaking clients through culture with the Confianza program.

What’s Confianza?

Once upon a time, Confianza was one social worker meeting clients in libraries and coffee shops. Now, two full-time staff provide help in Spanish. Confianza offers cultural understanding beyond words, with a sharp focus on connecting with the native values of the client. The program has interpreters and all documents related to a client’s need to communicate in Spanish.

“We are rooted in culture. English-speaking staff can be culturally competent, but still have trouble connecting with the client. Confianza meets people in their comfort zone. If a client sees someone who looks like them or who may have shared their experience, they’re more comfortable coming in for help, following through, and getting what they need.”

Kim Livingston
Confianza Founding Manager

Attention to Culture

It’s a hard decision for a client to look for help in a violent situation at home. So it makes a big difference when a counselor knows and understands the culture.

“This kind of program can reduce trauma for people who are looking for help,” says Maria Zuluaga, Confianza supervisor. “When you get easy access to help, that makes everyone equal. The equality we bring to the table builds opportunities to support all residents who experience domestic regardless of their needs.”

Family Approach

Maria Zuluaga
Confianza Program Supervisor

Confianza helps victims of intimate partner abuse. But the work stretches further. Staff will often recommend abusive partners to the New Options for Violent Actions program. Plus, children who witness intimate partner abuse can also get help.

“We’ve seen families develop a healthier environment after getting these services,” says Maria. “Each person has their unique experience. But all family members are benefiting.”

Word of Mouth

Referrals are a big part of Confianza’s success. So many clients find Confianza because someone who’s already received services told them about it. And these referrals help create and maintain a good reputation in the Spanish-speaking community. It’s proof of the Confianza team’s hard work, care and sensitivity to the client’s culture.

Lee esta publicación en Español.