SEATTLE [March 20, 2017] — Abused Deaf Women Advocacy Services (ADWAS) announced today that its National Deaf Hotline is now available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. “Deaf and hard of hearing individuals are 150% more likely to be victims of assault, abuse and bullying in their lifetime. Domestic violence impacts one out of every two Deaf women, and one out of every six Deaf men,” said Tiffany Williams, ADWAS Executive Director. “The National Deaf Hotline addresses this need with Deaf advocates who provide specialized resources and assistance on domestic violence/sexual assault.”
ADWAS collaborates with the National Domestic Violence Hotline to provide Deaf advocates fluent in American Sign Language for the National Deaf Hotline. Until now, the hotline was only available during limited hours, with after-hour calls being handled by hearing advocates. “This line isn’t just for survivors,” Williams said. “It’s also for their families, friends, and support network. So it was important that we expand the hours to 24 hours. Domestic violence isn’t something that happens only during business hours; it happens at any time of the day or night, and we want to make sure survivors and supporters have culturally and linguistically accessible support.”
In 2016, CSD launched a “Who Will Answer?” campaign, which inspired CSD to create Unites. Unites is a CSD program that collaborates with partnering organizations to create change and solve community needs. Among the first priorities was the need for a 24-hour hotline serving Deaf, DeafBlind, Deaf Disabled, and Hard of Hearing individuals, and Unites brought together 15 sister agencies across the nation to raise awareness about this need and to participate in crowdfunding efforts. ADWAS’ efforts led to the National Deaf Hotline being granted a three-year, $250,000 fund for the hotline, which meant ADWAS could hire five additional advocates.
“Launching our first Unites Campaign to support a 24-hour hotline was a natural step for CSD,” said CSD Chief Executive Officer Chris Soukup. “This collaboration through our sister agencies and ADWAS has proven how powerful and successful the community can be when we come together to create change that is life-changing.”
Williams said, “We are excited about the expansion of the new hours will provide. The goal is to provide crisis resources, information and referral, technical assistance, and outreach on domestic violence and sexual assault. We want people to be able to call at any time, because that would mean much more communication accessibility anytime and anywhere and that is vital for our survivors.”