Domestic Violence & Disabilities

Barrier Free Living is an expert working with survivors of domestic violence with disabilities.

The BFL team works with survivors of domestic violence with disabilities at our fully accessible Freedom House domestic violence shelter, our award winning Secret Garden domestic violence counseling program, and our latest BFL Apartments offering permanent homes with support services to survivors with disabilities and their families.

Sara Eldridge, Assistant Director at Barrier Free Living’s Secret Garden domestic violence program is in conversation with Lucy Ayala, the Sexual Assault Services Coordinator at Secret Garden. The two discuss their unique services with BFL Director of Communications Scott Hess in our new In Conversation series.

“Domestic violence is the number one issue of women with disabilities”

Paul Feuerstein, President/CEO

Our Latest DV Initiatives

The BFL team shares nearly 40 years of experience, knowledge and growth in the domestic violence and disabilities field.

October Domestic Violence Awareness Month – Team Resources & Outreach


New York State Coalition Against Domestic Violence October Calendar of Events.

10/18 from 12pm-1pm  Secret Garden’s Sara Eldridge will be part of the Exhale to Inhale Mental Health Panel. Also check out the group’s Week of Courage featuring Trauma-Informed Yoga Classes, a DJ Dance Party, a Meditation and a Sound Bath.

10/20, 10am – VA’s Intimate Partner Violence Assistance Program Resource Fair (flyer)

10/28, 12pm – Queensborough Community College – Resources for Domestic Violence Survivors During the Covid-19 Pandemic

Barrier Free Living Deaf Services Team member Allison offers a brief introduction to the services provided by the Deaf Services Team. Barrier Free Living’s Deaf Services team works with survivors of domestic violence at Secret Garden, our community based domestic violence program and Freedom House, our domestic violence crisis shelter. The Deaf Services team includes deaf, ASL fluent social workers and case managers.

All services are free and confidential for women and men ages 16 and over who have experienced emotional, physical, psychological, sexual, and financial abuse. Services include counseling, case management, advocacy, and referrals to legal, medical and emergency resources including food, clothing and vocational services. For more information, please call the Barrier Free Living Deaf Services at 646-807-4013. Article: Intimate Partner Violence In The Deaf Community

Barrier Free Living OT intern Arthur guides us through a simple origami activity to help us cope with social distancing.


Anne Markowitz, L.C.S.W., is a consultant for Barrier Free Living providing workshops around the topic of anger. She shares a few tips about maintaining balance during this challenging period. This week, Anne asks: How do we manage the anxiety and instability of the next few weeks or months? Read Anne’s article on anxiety. Read Anne’s Article on Keeping Balance.

Wreath of Strength Event December 1!


Please join us for our magical holiday fund-raising zoom event celebrating the kick off of our 40th year as an agency working with survivors of domestic violence with disabilities.

Tuesday, December 2, 2020

The Wreath of Strength will feature live music with DJ Sha Savage , stories from volunteers and survivors we serve, live carols, poetry, give-aways a visit from Santa Clause and a giant live wreath lighting!

Grab a free ticket here! We can’t wait to see you.

Contributor Sara Eldridge, LMSW, is the Assistant Program Director of Barrier Free Living’s Secret Garden domestic violence program. She is the host of Sit Down With Sara

In this episode, Sara looks at suicide prevention month (September) and domestic violence.

Surviving Trauma: Secret Garden’s Lucy Shares A Lesson Learned From The Tragic Death Of Daisy Coleman bfl-spotlight-picture

Lucrecia Ayala, MSW is a bilingual Social Worker (Spanish and English) and the Sexual Assault Services Coordinator at Barrier Free Living’s Secret Garden domestic violence program. Read her powerful essay about surviving trauma here.


Sunshine Behavioral Health offers a resource that discusses emerging solutions to domestic violence with topics updated regularly.

Chopra Center free 21-Day Meditation Experience: “Hope in Uncertain Times.”
Free online courses from Brown, Columbia, Cornell, Dartmouth, Harvard, Penn, Princeton, and Yale.

Freedom House DV Shelter Virtual Tour 

Take a virtual tour of Barrier Free Living’s Freedom House domestic violence shelter for survivors with disabilities. Get an up close and inside look at what makes our shelter absolutely unique and vital.

Link to film here .

Breaking Barriers In DV Newsletter

Each month BFL team members share their expertise and experience around our work with survivors of domestic violence with disabilities. Email us to sign up: [email protected]

Domestic Violence Resources

Search our extensive resource of information on the issues surrounding of domestic violence and disabilities.

Examples: Shelter, Children, Advocacy, Fleeing

Stories of Survival

The great benefit of our work at Barrier Free Living is the opportunity to see the results of our programs and hear the stories of inspiration, persistance and survival that our programs have helped to create.

“My family feels safe. We are learning to be strong and to love ourselves. I am so glad we are here” More about  Olga’s Journey of Hope

“I wanted to volunteer here because I wanted to be part of the great mission that Freedom House has for women and children.” More about  Bethelihem’s Journey of Hope


The BFL team shares its expertise at conferences and attends events locally and nationwide throughout the year.

Check back for future outreach events. 




Helping People with Disabilities Help Themselves

[email protected]

Our agency continues to provide services and support for survivors of domestic violence with disabilities during the COVID-19 crisis. Read More »