This program is authorized by 34 U.S.C.
20122 and Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2023, Pub.
117-328, 136 Stat.
4459, 4529-3 2. Clear communication is necessary for victims and survivors when seeking help and receiving services.
This is especially true
for D/deaf, hard of hearing, and Deaf/Blind (Deaf) victims and survivors.
For many Deaf people, the best way to communicate is in-person, using sign language, ProTactile, or an assistive communication device.
Services that best meet the needs of Deaf victims and survivors are provided in the preferred form of communication of the individual and are rooted in Deaf culture.
These services are "for Deaf, by Deaf" services.
However, these types of services are often not available due to the limited number of culturally Deaf domestic violence and sexual assault programs.
Additionally, most hearing organizations do not employ Deaf advocates, so few of them are well-positioned to provide culturally appropriate services to Deaf victims and survivors.
As a result, many Deaf victims and survivors are either unserved or underserved.
Through its grant programs and initiatives, OVW has supported several projects focused on increasing in-person services to Deaf victims and survivors.
Despite these efforts, in-person services to Deaf victims and survivors remain limited.
As a result, many Deaf victims and survivors are left without a means of accessing safe, culturally and linguistically appropriate services.
Because in-person, safe, culturally appropriate services for Deaf victims and survivors are so limited, virtual services may be a way to bridge that gap.
While virtual services do not replace the need for in-person services, virtual services may provide Deaf victims and survivors the culturally and linguistically appropriate crisis intervention, advocacy, and other healing resources they need.
The goal of this project is to increase and strengthen the opportunities and access points for Deaf victims and survivors to receive help, which would include creating new virtual crisis and long-term services, building the capacity of current in-person services, and developing new in-person services.
This is Phase Two of a two-part initiative to expand and strengthen services for Deaf victims and survivors of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking.
Under Phase One, OVW issued the National Deaf Service Line Initiative solicitation, asking applicants to identify the needs of Deaf victims and survivors and write a report with recommendations for how to address these barriers to access.
This project resulted in the Expanding Deaf-Specific Victim Services Nationwide:
A 5-Year Strategy report (Report).
Now that Phase One is complete, OVW is seeking to implement the recommended strategy outlined in the Report and summarized under the Purpose Areas below.