Strengthening Domestic Violence Services for Deaf Survivors: An Evaluation of Barrier Free Living’s Deaf Services Program
Posted in: News
Posted on August 24, 2022
More than 11 million people in the United States are Deaf, deaf, hard of hearing, late-deafened, or Deaf-Blind. In the New York metropolitan area alone, more than 240,000 people report a hearing-related disability. Research indicates deaf people report experiencing victimization at higher rates, but a lack of accessible resources and trauma-informed services for American Sign Language (ASL) speakers makes it difficult for deaf people to report crimes and access support. In response to these issues, the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office has provided funding to support Barrier Free Living’s (BFL’s) Deaf Services (DS) program since 2017 through its Criminal Justice Investment Initiative (CJII), with guidance from the CUNY Institute for State & Local Governance.
BFL provides safe and accessible services for survivors of domestic violence and their families–referred to by the program as consumers–through three programs. Freedom House is BFL’s fully accessible shelter offering stays up to 180 days and support services. Secret Garden offers nonresidential domestic violence services, including counseling, advocacy, and case management. BFL Apartments offers permanent housing and support services for survivors. BFL’s goal for the CJII grant was to increase access to direct services for deaf survivors at Freedom House and Secret Garden and increase local stakeholders’ awareness of deaf survivors’ needs.