Our mission at DeafHope is to end domestic and sexual violence in Deaf communities through empowerment, education and services. DeafHope provides comprehensive advocacy to Deaf survivors and their children. The guiding principle of DeafHope advocacy services is the self-determination of survivors – we respect the right of the survivor to make their own decisions. Deaf survivors are the experts in what best fits their needs. Our role is to discuss options and dispel myths, while offering non-judgmental support. Our services fully incorporate a deep understanding of the dynamics of violence, the importance of confidentiality, and individual approaches to safety planning. DeafHope works to develop innovative approaches to facilitate change within the Deaf community, to break down the cultural and social systems that perpetuate violence against women, and to empower individuals to work toward a life free of violence. Since 2006, DeafHope has partnered with the Alameda County Family Justice Center in Oakland, supporting survivors through a “one stop” model with 30 onsite agencies providing coordinated services. This strong partnership has proven invaluable in increasing access to services for Deaf survivors. We also count NorCal Services for Deaf and Hard of Hearing in Sacramento as a partner, sharing resources and support with their DeafSAFE program.
DeafHope is organized with a collective leadership structure with a vision that in order to end domestic and sexual violence, we have to be grounded in global anti-oppression work. We work to remove the stigma of violence by building bridges to the communities we serve. We create a community of support for Deaf, DeafBlind, and Hard of Hearing survivors by being out there, educating, supporting and offering ourselves as a resource for agencies, service providers, and individuals. Through our model of implementing collective leadership, survivor-centered advocacy, and community accountability, we represent the forefront of the movement to end violence in Deaf communities. We believe that the values of collective leadership and community accountability must be reflected in our personal lives not simply on the job. We must be willing to be called out for mistakes and be proactive in addressing them. This is work that requires difficult conversations on both personal and public levels to further our vision of ending violence in Deaf communities and everywhere.