Advocating for Survivors
Posted on Thursday, July 30, 2009
William Smith student, Alex Hallowell '10 is currently the Survivors of Violence Advocate Intern at the International Institute of Boston (IIB.) She is working to compile local resources for survivors of torture, war, domestic violence, assault and human trafficking so that the IIB can better inform clients about options outside of its capabilities.
IIB was originally started as a refugee resettlement agency, and while it still resettles hundreds of refugees each year, its services have widened to include job training and placement, English for speakers of other languages classes, pro-bono legal consultations and representation, as well as a host of other social services.
"One client may be working with as many as six different staff members, and all from separate offices, so it is important that they are all aware of emergency resources in the area," explains Hallowell. "Because this is a non-profit, IIB relies heavily on interns."
The protocol that she is designing is meant to inform every member of staff about a client's options, and it stresses the importance of respecting the client's decision.
Refugees, immigrants and asylees are those who have left their homes-often due to a lack of resources, safety or employment. Hallowell is interested in development studies and says, "I have become far more interested in policy issues since starting here. President Obama has been discussing possible changes to policies and I honestly believe immigration policy is in need of fresh changes. Due to classes I have taken during my time at HWS and through this internship, I have begun thinking about a graduate degree that would enable me to impact the policy in an effective way."
Hallowell is from Duxbury, Mass. and has a major in international relations and a minor in French language. On campus, she is an admissions tour guide, a French tutor, and a member of the Arts Collective.