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Barrier Free Living is a domestic violence agency in New York City that serves people with disabilities and those who are D/deaf. According to the World Health Organization, people with disabilities are 1.5 times more likely to be a victim of violence than those without a disability, while those with mental health conditions are at nearly four times the risk of experiencing violence. During the COVID- 19 pandemic we learned a lot about how we can offer services in an accessible and flexible manner. We now better understand the true meaning “client centered” services by letting people choose how they would like to receive services such as by phone, video, or in-person. This resulted in people attending services more regularly and on-time.
Crimes against people with disabilities are often challenging for professionals who respond to crime victims. Although people with disabilities are 7 times more likely to experience sexual assault than people without disabilities, they often do not have access to victim services. In this session, attendees will explore what justice means to people with disabilities by listening to the voices of survivors. Together, the presenters and attendees will reimagine what trauma-informed best practices should look like for victims with disabilities.
New information technologies, such as the Right Care Now Project, detect patterns of abuse from information about a person’s function and health regularly entered into the system by caregivers. This system creates notifications to DSPs, providers, and administrators recommending an investigation for sexual abuse.
When training for law enforcement focuses solely on respect, police officers are left wondering what they should actually do when they are assigned to investigate a crime against a person with a disability. How do they approach the victim, craft an investigative strategy, and gather and document the relevant evidence? How do they effectively communicate with victims, and ensure they are doing everything they can to protect victims’ safety while still respecting their self-autonomy? How do they access and utilize the people, technologies, and resources that might be available to help?
Professionals across the country are struggling to implement a community response system that is compliant with the provisions of the Violence Against Women Act of 2005, 42 U.S.C. § 3796gg-4(d) (typically referred to as “VAWA 2005”). With resources provided by a grant from the Office on Violence Against Women (OVW), we can help to achieve this goal in your community.