Being able to effectively serve survivors with disabilities in rape crisis centers, domestic violence programs, and child advocacy centers requires two things: a commitment to address abuse of people with disabilities and the capacity to meet the needs of people with disabilities. In practical terms, this means having a stated recognition of responsibility to serve people with disabilities and creating a culture and environment that prioritizes inclusion and supports full accessibility. It also involves the development of policies and protocols that establish expectations for how your organization addresses abuse, and other resources to help staff and volunteers provide a consistent and confidential response to survivors that promotes safety and healing. On-going professional development activities that deepen the capacity of staff and volunteers to address abuse are also critically important to providing inclusive and accessible services to survivors with disabilities.
Steps You Can Take in Your Organization
- Make a commitment.
- Identify needs and plot a course for change.
- Secure money to provide accommodations and make enhancements to your organization.
- Build formal partnerships.
- Involve people with disabilities in your work.
- Conduct an accessibility review.
- Adopt policies that promote equal access, inclusion, and autonomy.
- Offer on-going training to staff and volunteers.
- Tailor outreach and education activities to people with disabilities.
- Provide staff and volunteers with disability-specific protocols, resource guides, and other tools.
- Track your progress.