There is a long tradition in the victim services field of not only offering a broad range of services to communities to address domestic and sexual violence, but also providing professional development opportunities and other support to practitioners in the field and allied professionals. These opportunities, which range from written resources to in-person trainings, are designed to ensure that the services provided to survivors promote confidentiality, safety, and healing and are grounded in current best practices. As more partnerships are forged between victim services and disability organizations, and disability organizations increase their efforts to address domestic and sexual violence, it is essential that these opportunities are welcoming and accessible to people with disabilities and Deaf people.
Strategies for Inclusion
Include Training Topics and Presenters that are Relevant
Most victim service organizations provide a variety of training for their staff, volunteers, and the community-at-large. These trainings offer important opportunities to create a more inclusive movement by including information on violence against people with disabilities and skill-building strategies that highlight best practices for serving victims with disabilities and Deaf victims. Regardless of how brief or long these trainings are, opportunities exist to infuse relevant information about ending abuse of people with disabilities and Deaf people. Training topics could range from basic information on disability etiquette to information on the incidence and prevalence of abuse of people with disabilities and Deaf individuals to more advanced topics, such as safety planning strategies and effective screening techniques for survivors with disabilities.
Host Events that are Accessible and Welcoming
Accessible in-person events and webinars are planned proactively with the needs of people with disabilities and Deaf people in mind. Location, promotional materials, social functions, content, room set-up, meals, and the registration process should all be designed to maximize accessibility. Ensuring accessibility for all participants and colleagues needs to become an integral and routine part of any organization’s meeting planning process. Another access consideration required for in-person events and webinars goes beyond the planning process. Organizations hosting these events and trainings also must be prepared to provide the reasonable accommodations needed by participants with disabilities and Deaf participants to fully participate.
Ensure Print and Electronic Resources are Accessible
Most victim service organizations provide a variety of resources such as brochures and websites for use by victims, colleagues, and community members. These resources should be created to be accessible to the widest breadth of people, including victims and colleagues with disabilities. Whether materials are printed or available electronically, emphasizing the accessibility of these resources ensures that the most people possible can avail themselves of what these resources have to offer. Access for print and electronic resources involves many design considerations, such as font choice and size, color choice and contrast, and the type of graphic elements and how they are used. Additional access considerations for electronic materials entails captioning for audio and video media, including alternative text for photos, and providing website accessibility certification.
Learn How to Create Inclusion
To learn more about creating accessible in-person and virtual events and developing accessible print and electronic resources, follow the links below: