More specifically, we will take some time to discuss the incidence and prevalence of violence against women with disabilities and Deaf women. We will explore what the unique dynamics of violence are in the lives of people with disabilities and Deaf people and the unique impacts this as for survivors with disabilities and Deaf survivors. Additionally, we will highlight some barriers to access and support that survivors with disabilities and Deaf survivors face as well as the opportunities for change.
Limited research exists exploring the intersection of violence and abuse and disability. While research has documented that some women with disabilities experience an increased risk of domestic and sexual violence compared to women without disabilities, we cannot generalize the findings to all women with disabilities. Early studies tended to use highly heterogeneous samples, combining both genders, all disability types, and all ages. This has to do with various factors such as: 1. No two people have the exact same experience with disability; therefore one cannot generalize. For example, some experience disability from birth, others have recently acquired their disability. Additionally, the experience of people with developmental disability, psychiatric disability, mobility, sensory, and Deaf all vary from one another. 2. For example, people with disabilities and Deaf people face different obstacles to reporting their experiences of violence and abuse; 3. People with disabilities and Deaf people have different levels of need/reliance on others for caretaking; 4. There also exists differing perceptions of vulnerabilities by perpetrators; therefore perpetrators have different tactics of abuse.
READ 1 st Bullet point However, in this study there were Important differences between women with disabilities and women without disabilities: Women with disabilities reported a larger number of perpetrators, with the most common being intimate partners, followed by family members. They were also more likely to experience abuse by personal care attendants, strangers, and health care providers. Additionally, compared to women without disabilities, women with disabilities were more likely to report more intense experiences of abuse, including the combination of multiple incidents, multiple perpetrators, and longer duration.
Another study noted that….READ SLIDE
Although women with disabilities and women without disabilities experience very high rates of abuse, women with disabilities and Deaf women experience unique dynamics of violence related to their disability. We often see unique tactics used by perpetrators to gain power and control that are expressly targeted at women with disabilities and Deaf women.
As I began to mention, when looking at perpetrators in general, the most common perpetrators were partners or members of the survivor ’s family of origin. Women with disabilities are more likely than women without disabilities to experience abuse by health care providers and personal care attendants. In fact, 44% of perpetrators have a relationship with the individual because of their disability. So, in addition to personal caregivers/attendants and family members, and partners this can include people such as: drivers of accessible transportation and acquaintances.
As mentioned earlier, perpetrators can use specific tactics aimed at the survivor ’s disability. Some unique dynamics of this vary based on disability. For example, some unique dynamics for Mobility disabilities: Perpetrators will become her relied on or primary caregiver before abusing her. He may isolate her and leave her without attendant care. He may threaten to put her in a nursing home. He may threaten or injure her service animal. Hide her mobility devices, or in some cases putting them right our of her reach. He may minimize her physical needs or refuse to provide assistance with personal needs such as toileting, hygiene and eating. Additionally, because accessible transportation options may be limited, her may use these transportation options to know her route and stalk her. Sensory: Here too, for those people with sensory disabilities perpetrators may threaten, injure or scare away her service animal. He may take away her adaptive aids. Among other things, this may prevent her from calling for help. He may taking advantage of her disability by attaching before she can sense what is coming. He may treat her like a burden and not allow her to have friends. Make her feel guilty for needing help.
Deaf: Exploiting the smallness of the Deaf community: Ruining the survivors ’ chances for a job by spreading rumors about her in the Deaf community; using his power in the Deaf community to pressure her to stay with him; Not allowing access to Deaf culture or putting down the Deaf community; denying abuse saying it is ok in Deaf culture to touch her roughly or talk to her roughly; or overuse of floor stomping and pounding on the table or door to get her attention. Stealing or destroying her communications devices so she can ’t call or get to help. He may take advantage of the system that may have limited access to interpreters – (for example, a court date regarding an order of protection gets postponed because there was no interpreter) Hearing Privilege: He does not tell survivor when people try to call her; he excludes her from important phone calls; if she calls police, he will try and interpret and take control of the situation to his benefit. Psychiatric disabilities: Exploiting her psychiatric disability to make her believe that if she reports no one will believe her; people will think she is crazy – may take children away; not allowing access to her medication (hiding her medication) or controlling the amount. Canceling her doctor ’s appointments
Developmental: Treating her like a child. Telling her she is not capable of handling finances. Many times people with developmental disabilities have a learned behavior of acquiescence and pleasing people. For example, in CJS it is often seen that people with developmental disabilities want to please the interviewer and therefore will answer what they “think” is the right answer. Often perpetrators will take advantage of this trusting nature. Some people with developmental disabilities have not learned that they have the right to define boundaries. He may take advantage of her limited sexual education or knowledge and demand/expect sexual activity. He may make all the decisions regarding her life.
These unique dynamics can lead to unique impacts that violence and abuse has for survivors with disabilities and Deaf survivors. Women with disabilities may have particular difficulties escaping violence and abuse because many fear that leaving an abusive partner could result in reinstitutionalization or having their children taken away from them by authorities who may consider them incapable of caring for them without assistance. Many women with disabilities have shared that it is safer to stay with their abuser and what they know, than risk retaliation or uncertain change. They may have been told that no one will believe them, or have experiences where they have not been believed in the past. This is particularly an experience identified when reporting or communicating with law enforcement. They may feel that they will have no one to rely on if he/she is gone; they may fear losing the personal care or other services. Without access to transportation or mobility devices, the person with a disabilities may physically be unable to leave and access services. She may be physically incapable of executing the tasks necessary to implement a plan for leaving such as packing necessities or driving to an organization for help. People with disabilities and Deaf people may lack the understanding or knowledge that what they are experiencing is in fact abusive and/or criminal. This is particularly the case when it is experienced by caregivers and attendants; people that the survivor is reliant on for support and trust.
It is important to note the impact of mandatory reporting.. Many people with disabilities have had bad experiences with mandatory reports and therefore may fear disclosures and people reporting again. Oftentimes protective services are overwhelmed and unresponsive; therefore there may be a history of reports not being followed through on By reporting, the survivor may feel that they do not control who finds out what goes on in their life; this may create a more unsafe situation for the survivor with a disability or Deaf survivor. Their confidentiality feels violated and their right to self-determination is diminished. When thinking about minimizing this impact, organizations can work to create strong policies and procedures to support the person through the reporting process. Additionally, you can create safety mechanisms to support the survivor if she/he goes back to their abuser.
Women with disabilities and Deaf women experience barriers to access assistance and support. READ TOP OF SLIDE The building is not accessible or is unable to meet her needs for personal assistance with activities of daily living, the staff may be unable to communicate with a Deaf survivor; staff may not have knowledge of disability or Deaf culture in general. Often policies eliminate people with psychiatric disabilities or substance abuse issues. Further, policies in shelters often do not account for people with developmental disabilities who may need altered chores. Enhance your policies to be more accessible, and welcoming to survivors with disabilities and Deaf survivors. Create ongoing training on working with people with disabilities. This will assist with not only knowledge-building but with attitudinal barriers as well.
READ TOP OF SLIDE Service providers at disability agencies often fail to recognize abusive situations or do not know how to respond with it is recognized. Mandatory reporting obligations may dictate the type of response that staff make to disclosures, or create an environment in which staff do not want to illicit disclosures. Oftentimes disability agencies do not have a private space to conduct interviews/intakes so that survivor may feel more comfortable in disclosing. Work on creating a private space to meet with people at your agency Disability agencies may be serving both the survivor and abuser – this has an impact on survivors safety and the need to do careful safety planning with the survivor. Work with disability providers to create protocols to protect the safety of survivors.
READ TOP OF SLIDE Transportation: Consider developing relationships with accessible transportation in your area. This will require careful safety planning with your survivor. Modify shelters and other organizations to be accessible. The lack of options for personal assistance may force dependence on abusive caregivers. Expand options to provide affordable and feasible options for quality personal care assistance. Organizations often do not have assistive technology. Consider creating resource-sharing agreements with agencies that do have access to this technology.
READ TOP OF SLIDE ASL interpreters are often limited and a part of a small community; therefore they may know or work with both the abuser and survivor. Confidentiality and boundaries are often challenged; leading to an unsafe situation for the survivor. Work on creating training on domestic and sexual violence for ASL interpreters; include them in activities at DV/agencies Services are often fragmented – Disability services many not have strong connection to the Deaf community. Reach out to Deaf agencies; include them in disability organizations activities. Deaf organizations almost always focus on issues relating to communication access and therefore do not focus on encouraging or respond to disclosures of violence and abuse. Prepare staff for working with a Deaf survivor by training them on basic etiquette. The smallness of the community requires careful safety planning. Consider outreach to the Deaf community as a part of your volunteer outreach.
Thinking of the barriers and unique dynamics hat exist; what are the opportunities for change? READ TITLE OF SLIDE Make agencies fully accessible; including barrier-free access to sleeping rooms and common areas in shelters; visual and auditory alarms and TTYs (telephone typewriter, teletypwriter, or text phone) or TDDs (telecommunication device of the Deaf) for telephone communication Make all services offered at agencies such as hotlines, individual counseling, support groups, fully accessible and integrated for women with disabilities and Deaf women Invite disability agency staff to train your staff on how to communicate and work with persons who have disabilities. Develop an understanding of environmental barriers as well. Have an extensive network of disability related referrals/resources including obtaining personal assistance; medication and assistive devices. Enhance policies to welcoming and inclusive of women with disabilities and Deaf women ( including requesting accommodations; shelter rules, etc)
Invite violence against women programs to train staff on strategies for assisting people with disabilities who are experiencing abuse. Enhance your policies to illicit disclosures and be responsive when disclosures happen. Clearly direct staff in their response. Include abuse screening questions as a routine part of intake and follow-up procedures Display violence and abuse awareness-raising posters and materials on abuse intervention Include safety planning as a part of your intake and service provision.
In addition to these ideas, we will have some national resources listed on our website.
Sandra's powerpoint presentation
Violence Against Women withDisabilitiesFriends Health Connection Webinar SeriesJuly 12, 2012Sandra HarrellProject Director, Accessing Safety InitiativeVera Institute of Justice Slide 1
Today, we will…> Explore what we know about domestic and sexual violence in the lives of individuals with disabilities and Deaf people.> Discuss implications for your work in your collaborations. Slide 2 • January 12, 2012
What We Know About VAWD> Incidence & Prevalence> Unique Dynamics of Violence> Impacts for Survivors with Disabilities> Barriers to Access Assistance and Support> Opportunities for Change Slide 3 • January 12, 2012
Incidence and Prevalence> Limited research exists.> Research has documented that some women with disabilities experience increased risk of domestic and sexual violence compared to women without disabilities.> Cannot generalize findings to all women with disabilities. Slide 4 • January 12, 2012
Incidence and Prevalence cont’d…> In one study, women with and without disabilities experienced equally high rates of physical, sexual, and emotional abuse.> A few important differences for women with disabilities existed, though. > They reported a larger number of perpetrators. > The duration of their abuse was longer than women without disabilities. Source: Center for Research on Women with Disabilities, Baylor. Slide 5 • January 12, 2012
Incidence and Prevalence cont’d…> People with developmental disabilities are four to ten times more likely than people without disabilities to be sexually assaulted and they are at greater risk for repeat victimization.> 76% of adults with cognitive disabilities have been sexually assaulted.> 49% of people with developmental disabilities were assaulted 10 or more times.Sources: Sobsey, D. Violence and Abuse in the Lives of People with Disabilities: The End of Silent Acceptance? 1994. National Center for Injury Prevention and Control. Slide 6 • January 12, 2012
Unique Dynamics of Violence>Women with disabilities and Deaf women experience unique dynamics of violence.>Some perpetrators use tactics that expressly target women with disabilities and Deaf women. Slide 7 • January 12, 2012
Perpetrators> The vast majority of perpetrators are known and hold positions of power or authority.> 44% of perpetrators have a relationship with the individual because of their disability. > Caregivers > Attendants > Drivers > Family members > Partners, Girlfriends, Boyfriends > Acquaintances Slide 8 • January 12, 2012
Perpetrator Tactics> Mobility disabilities > Becoming a relied-upon, or primary, caregiver before assaulting her > Threatening, injuring or scaring away her service animal > Using her transportation options to stalk her/know her route > Hiding her mobility devices or putting them right out of her reach> Sensory disabilities > Attacking before she can sense what is coming. > Threatening, injuring or scaring away her service animal > Stealing her adaptive equipment so she can’t call for or get to help. Slide 9 • January 12, 2012
Perpetrator Tactics, cont’d…> Deaf > Exploiting the smallness of the Deaf community. > Stealing or destroying her communication devices so she can’t call for or get to help. > Using hearing privilege> Psychiatric disabilities > Telling her she won’t be believed > Telling her she is crazy > Giving her drugs without her knowledge, forcing her to take drugs or medication, or giving her more than was prescribed Slide 10 • January 12, 2012
Perpetrator Tactics, cont’d…> Developmental disabilities > “Grooming” her for abuse > Exploiting her trusting nature > Taking advantage of her lack of sexual education or knowledge Slide 11 • January 12, 2012
Impacts for Survivors with Disabilities> Fear of retribution/retaliation> Fear of institutionalization> Fear of not being believed, particularly if reporting to law enforcement> Loss of personal care and other services> Lack of mobility and/or transportation> May not know what they experienced is abusive and/or criminal Slide 12 • January 12, 2012
Impacts for Survivors with Disabilities,cont’d…> Fear of people reporting/mandatory reporting > History of reports not being followed through on > Loss of independence > Loss of right to self-determination > May create a more unsafe situation for the survivor with a disability Slide 13 • January 12, 2012
Barriers to Access Assistance and Support> Barriers exist in domestic and sexual violence programs, health care settings, the criminal justice system, and other areas for these survivors. > Physical barriers > Communication barriers > Attitudinal barriers > Service providers may lack knowledge of disability in general > Policies in place may prevent survivors with disabilities from using the services Slide 14 • January 12, 2012
Barriers to Access Assistance and Support,cont’d…> Barriers exist in disability programs for survivors > Barriers to disclosures of violence and abuse > Mandatory reports > Lack of privacy at intake > Serving both abusers and survivors Slide 15 • January 12, 2012
Barriers to Access Assistance and Support,cont’d…> Barriers exist in community resources for women with disabilities and Deaf women > Fewer transportation options may impact safety planning > Physical buildings may be inaccessible > Personal care services > Access to assistive technology Slide 16 • January 12, 2012
Barriers, cont’d…> Barriers exist in serving Deaf survivors > Community of ASL interpreters is often small and tight knit > Disability services may not have strong connection to the Deaf community > Deaf services may focus exclusively on communication access – not fully on the range of violence and abuse > Crisis line workers may be unfamiliar with TTY or VRS > Access to Deaf Advocates or Certified Deaf Interpreters may be limited > Sense of isolation when living in a shelter > Lack of understanding of Deaf Culture Slide 17 • January 12, 2012
General Strategies for Working with Survivorswith Disabilities and Deaf Survivors> Follow basic etiquette for interacting with people with disabilities and Deaf people.> Avoid victim-blaming language> Use welcoming and inclusive language> Ensure that you are conveying that environment is safe> Ask how you can best meet her needs> Create a private space to discuss her experiences/needs Slide 18 • January 12, 2012
General Strategies for Working with Survivorswith Disabilities and Deaf Survivors, cont’d…> Provide reasonable accommodations> Focus on her as a whole person> Be flexible and allow for more time> Advocate to ensure other community resources are accessible> Advocate to ensure other community resources are safe and welcoming Slide 19 • January 12, 2012
Opportunities For Change in Violence Against Women Organizations> Budget for accessibility> Make sure services are accessible> Enhance policies to be welcoming and inclusive of women with disabilities and Deaf women> Incorporate disability and Deaf – specific images and information in program materials Slide 20 • January 12, 2012
Opportunities For Change in ViolenceAgainst Women Organizations, cont’d…> Make agency materials available in alternative formats> Actively recruit and retain board members, staff, and volunteers who have disabilities> Promote partnerships between violence against women agencies and disability and Deaf organizations. Slide 21 • January 12, 2012
Opportunities For Change in Disability andDeaf Organizations> Include line items that would allow for emergency housing or other safety planning needs> Indicate safe ways to talk about violence or abuse in your program materials> Enhance policies to be responsive to survivors and disclosures of violence and abuse Slide 22 • January 12, 2012
Opportunities For Change in Disability andDeaf Organizations, cont’d…> Provide on-going training opportunities on violence against women with disabilities and Deaf women> Promote partnerships between violence against women agencies and disability and Deaf organizations. Slide 23 • January 12, 2012
National Resources> Accessing Safety Initiative’s website: www.accessingsafety.org> U.S. Department of Justice’s ADA home page: www.ada.gov> National Sexual Violence Resource Center: www.nsvrc.org> Disability and Business Technical Assistance Center: www.dbtac.vcu.edu> National Coalition Against Domestic Violence: www.ncadv.org> Job Accommodation Network: www.jan.wvu.edu Slide 24 • January 12, 2012
Contact Information Sandra Harrell Director, Accessing Safety Initiative Vera Institute of Justice firstname.lastname@example.org Slide 25 • January 12, 2012