To address domestic and sexual violence of people with disabilities, one of the first things an organization must do is to recognize that abuse is a pervasive problem among individuals with disabilities, acknowledge their role in addressing it, and make a commitment to do so.
Resources and Tips You Can Use
- Vera House Deaf Webpage. One way to demonstrate a commitment to serving survivors with disabilities and/or Deaf survivors is through the development of a web page that addresses domestic and/or sexual violence within the community. Vera House, Inc., a domestic and sexual violence organization in Syracuse, NY created a website, linked to from their main page, that specifically addresses domestic and sexual violence in the lives of Deaf people, and includes educational videos in American Sign Language.
- Safety First Initiative Brochure: You Have a Right to be Safe. Another way to demosntrate your commitment is by acknowledging domestic and sexual violence of people with disabilities in your general materials. The Safety First Initiative in Kansas City, MO, did this by referencing the experiences of people with disabilities in their safety planning brochure.
- DART Alaska Statement of Principles. Embedded within a larger document, Alaska Protocol for Addressing Violence/Abuse of People with Disabilities, DART Alaska (Disability Abuse Response Teams) created a set of principles to guide the work of those supporting survivors with disabilities. These principles demonstrate their commitment to prevent and respond to the abuse of people with disabilities.
- Host a Commitment Ceremony. Another way to demonstrate ongoing commitment is through a commitment ceremony. The King County Domestic Violence and Mental Health Collaboration Project held a “Commitment Ceremony” at the conclusion of their first grant to demonstrate the commitment of the partner agencies to sustain the work they had begun together. The directors from each of the partner agencies marched down an aisle carrying flowers and recited “vows” to each other. The directors agreed to maintain communication with each other and to continue participating in their project’s initiatives.