Capacity-building training is on offer to Irish lawyers who deal with migrant and ethnic minority clients.
The collaborative Protect III project, between the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) Ireland and the Department of Justice, aims to assist vulnerable migrants and ethnic minorities, in particular victims and survivors of domestic, sexual and gender-based violence and trafficking.
IOM Ireland offers free cultural competency training to individuals and organisations working as frontline service providers who wish to further their expertise.
This is not the same as interpreting services but is focused on cultural matters.
Neutral and unbiased
A cultural mediator is not an advocate on behalf of the service user, but facilitates understanding between parties, remaining neutral and unbiased in the process.
These sessions are held regularly and are open to all or can be provided privately to specific organisations or groups. Anyone interested can register by getting in touch.
Facilitator Alanna Grogan points out that culture can be a barrier to service access and provision in Ireland.
Cultural mediation training can help to break down this barrier by facilitating mutual understanding and interaction between service providers and users.
The project will provide background information about migrant communities and the issues they may face in trying to access and use services.
Migrant communities will also be given information about Irish services and encouraged to voice their needs and concerns.
The Protect III project also covers the area of community policing and reporting of domestic, sexual and gender-based violence and counter-trafficking research, training and a public awareness campaign.