Leslie Myers joined Vera in October 2010 as a Senior Program Associate for the Accessing Safety Initiative (ASI). She provides technical assistance to grantees and technical support for the various Center on Victimization and Safety webinar series.
Leslie also collaborates on the OVW national grant on Improving the Accessibility of OVW Funded Technical Assistance and Training project and works to prepare self-advocates to work with their peers who have experienced violence and abuse. In addition, Leslie is the co-project director for the Supporting Crime Victims with Disabilities grant through OVC, which is focused on creating a comprehensive online toolkit aimed at providing disability and victim service providers, first responders, protective services, healthcare and legal providers and others with information needed to support crime victims with disabilities.
Leslie has been working on issues related to violence against people with disabilities since 1994, when, while working with individuals with I/DD, she became concerned around the lack of consistency and urgency agencies responded to reports of abuse and sought changes in policies and procedure. In 1997, after losing her leg, Leslie made the issue her life’s mission while standing at the bottom of a set of stairs leading to a sexual violence agency where she was applying for an internship.
Leslie worked as the Project Director for Milwaukee’s Disability Grant Program’s multi-disciplinary collaboration focused on enhancing the capacity of service providers and improving the coordination of supports and services for women with disabilities who are victims/survivors of violence. While in Milwaukee, Leslie provided support and counseling to victims with disabilities, as well as classes to help individuals with disabilities to develop healthy relationships and to recognize abusive behaviors. She worked closely with local victim service agencies to become accessible and to assist them in serving victims with disabilities. Leslie also began the Disability Abuse Response Team, a multidisciplinary group tasked with developing a seamless response to victims with disabilities and assisted the state of Alaska to set up a similar statewide DART. She won numerous awards for her work on violence against people with disabilities including the:
- Justice Award from the Wisconsin Governor’s Council on Domestic Abuse; Independent Living Advocate Award;
- Champions in Women’s Health Award from the Wisconsin Women’s Health Foundation;
- Women Putting Their Stamp on Metro Milwaukee Award from the U.S. Postal Service;
- Crime Victims’ Rights Week Award-from Milwaukee County District Attorney; and the
- ILRU Innovative CIL Program for S.A.F.E. (Stopping Abuse For Everyone) Program and Disability Abuse Response Team (D.A.R.T.).
Leslie holds a Master of Science in Educational Rehabilitation Counseling and a Trauma Counseling Certificate from the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee. She is a Certified Rehabilitation Counselor and a Clinically Certified Domestic Violence Counselor.