Since the early 2000s there has been a coordinated national effort by advocates and allies to provide critical tools, resources, and support to promote the needs of Deaf and hard of hearing DVSV survivors. The dialog has shifted toward ensuring cultural competency when providing DVSV services to underserved populations. Due to a host of systematic and programmatic barriers experienced by survivors who are Deaf and hard of hearing, the most critical component in addressing the severe service gaps is providing a robust linguistic and cultural competency to a very specific population group whose primary communication mode is American Sign Language (ASL). It takes years in attaining fluency in ASL or mastering the language.
In addressing the critical lack of services and/or programs specifically tailored to the unique language needs of those who are Deaf and hard of hearing across Indiana, ICADV brought a Deaf and Hard of Hearing Coordinator on board to establish services and programs to meet these service gaps. The primary focus is the coordination and implementation of resources, information, and consultations to over 100 member programs and other service providers in Indiana. But the Coordinator also provides direct support to survivors for their immediate needs and connects them with victim service programs. Educating and supporting those service programs will allow for increased accessibility for people who are Deaf and hard of hearing survivors, thus reducing the acute sense of isolation and enhancing connectedness that aims to promote and set them on a path of healing.
How does domestic violence affect people who are Deaf and hard of hearing? Click here for the Deaf and hard of hearing brochure outlining the facts.
ICADV provides these services:
DIRECT SERVICES TO SURVIVORS. ICADV has been awarded federal Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) funds to provide direct services to survivors who are Deaf and hard of hearing. The Deaf and Hard of Hearing Coordinator will now interact directly with survivors who are Deaf and hard of hearing. She will provide links to critical shelter, legal and educational resources to aid in their path toward healthier choices and lifestyles. Click here to reach Holly.
STAKEHOLDER MEETINGS. With the Board President of DeafALIVE, ICADV convenes quarterly meetings with agency heads and key decision makers from the community, technology, educational, and governmental sectors from the broader Deaf community within the greater Indianapolis area for an ongoing dialogue on how to effectively confront and address all forms of bullying and domestic violence in their own local communities, schools, programs, and workplaces. The inaugural stakeholders meeting took place at ICADV in November 2015.
SAFE SCHOOL ENVIRONMENT. ICADV and the Indiana School for the Deaf (ISD) are actively engaged in a new collaborative partnership to create a Safe School Environment process to prevent bullying and other forms of violence for Deaf and hard of hearing students.
ICADV ANNUAL CONFERENCE. ICADV collaborated with the Indiana Governor’s Council on People with Disabilities (GCDP) to enable participants who are Deaf and hard of hearing to attend the two-day annual conference proceedings by providing American Sign Language (ASL) interpreters.
AMERICAN SIGN LANGUAGE VIDEOS. ICADV, in partnership with DeafALIVE & the Indiana School for the Deaf (ISD), created and produced the first series of five videos in American Sign Language (ASL) with English texts on a variety of topics related to Domestic Violence issues. ICADV has active plans to expand ASL video offerings which will be uploaded on to the website on a periodical basis.
Current videos (in American Sign Language and English) offer information for survivors:
- How To Get Help
- Characteristics of a Partner Who Is Abusive
- ICADV Services for Deaf / HH Survivors
- What is a Protective Order?
- Are You In An Abusive Relationship?
TRAININGS FOR ASL INTERPRETERS. ICADV offers intensive workshop and trainings for working professional ASL interpreters on a variety of topics related to domestic violence issues and processes. Past training topics focused on Trauma Informed Interpreting and Legal Interpreting. Those trainings provide opportunities for interpreters to acquire new skills for real world situations when they may and will encounter situations that involve Deaf and hard of hearing survivors of Domestic Violence/Sexual Violence (DVSV).
SUPPORT FOR MEMBER PROGRAMS. ICADV provides regional trainings to member programs on the unique dynamics of DVSV within the general Deaf Community. Technical assistance (TA) is available to programs, staff, and other service providers on a variety of issues related to deafness such as the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requirements on communication access, compliance, and policy procedures that promote inclusion for people with disabilities.
March 2015: Some members of the DeafALIVE Board approached ICADV to explore potential collaborative opportunities to address critical service gaps in Deaf and Hard of Hearing populations in Indiana. At that time, there were no existing services or staff with the appropriate cultural competency in place dedicated to the unique linguistic and cultural needs of Deaf and hard of hearing people.
August 2015: After receiving a notification of the Domestic Violence and Prevention Treatment (DVPT) grant award, ICADV was able to expand its existing staff with the addition of a Deaf and Hard of Hearing Coordinator whose primary role is to create, develop and implement initiatives in addressing the service gaps in Deaf and Hard of Hearing populations. The Coordinator serves two dual roles in which member programs are supported through outreach, information and resource, and technical assistance along with working external community organizations and partners.
October 2016: Expansion of the Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) award funds to begin providing and delivering direct advocacy services to Deaf and hard of hearing survivors. This allows for the DHHC to engage and interact directly with survivors. The Coordinator provides links to critical shelter, legal, and educational resources to aid in their pathway toward healthier choices and lifestyles.
Deaf and Hard of Hearing Coordinator: Holly Elkins works at the Indiana Coalition Against Domestic Violence as the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Coordinator providing technical assistance to DV programs & services in addition to implementing services for Deaf/hh survivors of DV. In her role, Holly collaborates with DeafALIVE to provide advocacy and other educational and support services to those working with this specific population group. Holly’s experiences encompass over 20 years of direct knowledge of Deaf and hard of hearing consumers’ needs and concerns in a variety of settings such as non-profits, state agencies, educational institutions, businesses and federal government programs. She has exemplary skills in strategic planning, policy development, system advocacy, training and program management. She has BA and MA degrees from Gallaudet University in Washington, DC.