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Enhancing Access to Deaf Victims of Domestic Violence

Award Information

Award #
Funding Category
Competitive Discretionary
Congressional District
Funding First Awarded
Total funding (to date)

Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2022, $399,995)

This application is being submitted by Willow Domestic Violence Center of Greater Rochester, Inc. (Willow), which hosts the region’s only Deaf-led and Deaf-specific domestic violence services for survivors of domestic violence through the Deaf IGNITE program at Willow (IGNITE). Willow is seeking priority consideration for Category 1 as a culturally specific organization due to   IGNITE. IGNITE will work on this Project with community partners including RESTORE (a sexual assault agency), the HEAL Collaborative - Healing through Health, Education, Advocacy, and Law - at the University of Rochester’s Medical Center, and the Person-In-Crisis (PIC) Team to enhance access to Domestic Violence (DV) and Sexual Assault (SA) services for Deaf victims of crime. 

 Despite a diverse and robust Deaf community in Rochester (one of the largest in the nation), barriers and gaps to DV/SA services continue to exist. Local Deaf victims and IGNITE advocates have observationally and anecdotally identified gaps in service, including:  

Lack of Trauma Informed Qualified Interpreters (TIQIs) and language access within legal, medical and service systems to domestic violence and sexual assault services  

Lack of access to culturally appropriate domestic violence and sexual assault services  

Lack of outreach, prevention education, and advocacy around domestic violence and sexual assault in the Deaf community, including colleges 

Lack of flexibility regarding when and where crisis services can be provided  

Lack of seamless coordination between community partners  

Lack of trust in court and law enforcement to meet victim needs 

Lack of capacity to support the complexity and intensity of Deaf victimhood 

Willow is requesting funding in the amount of $400,000 over 24 months for this IGNITE Project. Funds will enhance access to domestic violence services for Deaf victims of DV/SA. This will be done through: 

Strengthening IGNITE’s capacity through increased staffing and co-location at the HEAL Collaborative and Person-In-Crisis (PIC) team 

Re-evaluating Willow’s disability and language access plans 

Facilitating education around best practices serving Deaf victims with community partners, particularly law enforcement agencies 

Expanding access to ASL Interpreter services for Willow and other points of intervention 

IGNITE and our community partners are in a unique position to support Deaf victims. By working with community partners in law enforcement, courts, and medical settings to prioritize this underserved population and enhance access to services, we have an opportunity to achieve better outcomes for Deaf survivors and provide leadership as a national model for specific, collaborative and integrated Deaf DV/SA services.

Date Created: September 28, 2022