Project EMERGE has been instrumental in the creation of practical solutions to the unique challenges faced by women with disabilities and Deaf women: they not only experience abuse at vastly disproportionate numbers, but they also encounter barriers to seeking assistance.
Project EMERGE—a Burton Blatt Institute (BBI) collaboration with Vera House, working to end domestic and sexual violence, and ARISE, creating a fair and just community in which everyone can fully participate—improves services for women with disabilities and Deaf individuals who may also be victims of domestic and/or sexual violence. The Project EMERGE team is working with other community partners, including the Syracuse Police Department, Onondaga Sheriff’s Office, Enable, Transitional Living Center (TLS), and Catholic Charities of Onondaga to create policy and best practices within their organizations.
It has been documented that women with disabilities of all types—mobility, cognitive, sight, hearing and mental health—face domestic and sexual violence at vastly disproportionate numbers, with 85% of women in the United States with disabilities reporting abuse and violence as a top priority of topics affecting their lives (Colorado Department of Health, 2008). The unique vulnerabilities to abuse experienced by women with disabilities are associated largely with the general barriers to seeking services which include architectural and attitudinal accessibility of programs, lack of adaptive equipment, and inaccessible victim service agencies (Zweig, Schilichter, & Burt, 2002; Frantz, Carey, & Bryen, 2006).
Project EMERGE therefore aims to identify specific gaps in service, barriers to safety and accessible support, and system inadequacies for women with disabilities and deaf women who are survivors of domestic and sexual violence. This project, funded by a grant from the Office on Violence Against Women, strives to ensure access, equality, and system inadequacies at both Vera House and ARISE.
This project is supported by Grant No. 2006-FW-AX-K015 awarded by the Office on Violence Against Women, U.S. Department of Justice. The opinions, findings, conclusions, and recommendations expressed are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Department of Justice, Office on Violence Against Women.