Through an award from the United States Department of Justice, Office on Violence Against Women, GCADV began a new program that focuses on Deaf and hard of hearing domestic violence victims. GCADV is partnering with the Georgia Council for the Hearing Impaired (GACHI), the statewide organization providing services to the Deaf and Hard of Hearing and Tools for Life, Georgia’s Assistive Technology Act Program that operates out of Georgia Tech.
The collaboration’s mission is to increase the capacity of domestic violence and disability professionals throughout Georgia to provide safe, comprehensive and responsive services for Deaf, hard of hearing, deaf blind, and late deafened individuals experiencing domestic violence.
Research over the past twenty years documents the correlations between hearing loss, poverty, oppression and discrimination as it relates to violence against women. Moreover, serious gaps exist in the accessibility and services for Deaf survivors of domestic violence with hearing loss. Many domestic violence and disability service providers are not prepared or trained to address issues involving both domestic violence and individuals with hearing loss. As a result, survivors who contact domestic violence programs for assistance often experience serious communication barriers or lack of understanding of Deaf culture that impedes their ability to receive vital services. Additionally, survivors who seek help through disability service providers often find staff are untrained or ill-equipped to address the violence they are experiencing and the unique safety risks.
Over the next two years, the collaboration will conduct needs assessments, strategic planning, cross training and influence interorganizational capacity building around domestic violence and Deaf and hard of hearing survivors.
The collaboration strives to create sustainable, systemic change within the organizations involved that will result in exceptional services for domestic violence survivors who are Deaf, hard of hearing, deaf blind, and late deafened.