February 13, 2013 Advocacy, BFL News, Domestic Violence and Disabilities 0 Comments

BFL was awarded a $500,000 Grant for our proposal to establish protocols for Deaf/Hard-of-Hearing individuals who have survived sexual assault and/or domestic violence. This three-year award acknowledges the need to establish protocols, advocacy and coordinated services for a portion of the population that is typically under-served. With BFL as the lead agency, we have formed a Collaborative team with the Harlem Independence Center (HILC), the District Attorney’s Office of New York (DANY), St. Luke’s Roosevelt Hospital’s Crime Victims Treat Center (CVTC), All Hands In Motion ASL Interpreters and CONNECT of NYC. Our combined expertise in the areas of sexual assault, disabilities, law enforcement and advocacy and access will allow us to create best practices and policies and procedures that will position us to spearhead the delivery of services to Deaf individuals.

The Project has a local focus and will serve Deaf victims of Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence in New York City.  The project will be implemented by a collaborative Multi-Disciplinary Team which includes partners from key sectors: Barrier Free Living (the lead agency and a Victim and Individuals with Disabilities service organization), Harlem Independent Living Center (Victim and Individuals with Disabilities service organization), Crime Victims Treatment Center at St Luke’s-Roosevelt Hospital (for victims of violent crimes), CONNECT (Legal advocacy and community training) and the NY County District Attorney Office (prosecution and support to crime victims).  The Vera Institute studied the experience of 40 previous grant recipients of the Department of Justice’s Office of Violence against Women Disability Grants and identified critical elements of successful collaborations; this proposed project has adopted all of these recommendations. The partners will collaborate through the MDT to plan and implement creative approaches to:

ü      Mobilize a range of resources to enhance the availability of ASL certified Interpreters;

ü      Cross train staff within provider agencies, law enforcement and the courts;

ü      Develop protocol for rapid cross partner referrals (with Deaf individual’s permission);

ü      Identify models of inclusion for Deaf individuals requiring services from any agency;

ü      Ensure safety and confidentiality in planning and services;

ü      Map city resources for providing trauma informed care to increase access.

ü      Implement evidence based approaches, such as peer mentors, to enhance knowledge and trust between the Deaf victims of SA/DV and service providers/law enforcement/courts.

ü      Track and measure the programmatic and fiscal efficacy of use of ASL certified interpreters, cross training, models of inclusion and peer support to ensure sustainability.

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