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Deaf and Hard of Hearing Survivors of Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Need Access to a National 24/7 Hotline That is Staffed by Deaf Advocates.

Austin, TX, November 15, 2014 --(PR.com)-- Communication Service for the Deaf (CSD), the largest Deaf-led nonprofit in the United States has helped fund over 50 community organizations and events throughout the nation in the past year and has given nearly $130,000 in support of Deaf community causes. CSD has now taken on a new mission to provide full access to information and resources for Deaf and Hard of hearing survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault in partnership with Abused Deaf Women's Advocacy Services (ADWAS), the first Deaf community service organization that was established to help Deaf and Hard of hearing survivors of domestic violence. This mission includes leading a coalition of over twelve community organizations that serve Deaf and Hard of hearing victims and survivors to raise $250,000 through the #WhoWillAnswer crowdfunding campaign that will fully fund the National Deaf Hotline Center.

Currently the National Deaf Hotline Center is operated from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. from Monday to Friday, and is staffed by Deaf advocates who are trained to help Deaf and Hard of hearing survivors of domestic violence get access to needed information and resources using American Sign Language. Due to limited funding, the National Deaf Hotline cannot operate at all hours and on weekends, which leaves Deaf survivors without access to services from qualified Deaf advocates. Instead, Deaf callers must place another call to the National Domestic Violence Hotline, which is staffed by hearing advocates, and utilize an ASL interpreter to relay these calls. Even though hearing advocates are fully trained in dealing with survivors, these conversations are deeply personal and a three-way call through an interpreter is often not the preferred communication choice for Deaf and Hard of hearing survivors. “The trauma of violence for Deaf survivors can be isolating, but it doesn't have to be," said Tiffany Williams, Executive Director of ADWAS, who runs the National Deaf Hotline Center. "Our goal of having a 24/7 hotline, led by Deaf Advocates, will provide the needed support for survivors, friends, family and service providers to break down the barriers that Deaf survivors face.”

“Domestic violence is a hidden issue in the Deaf and hard of hearing community, and it greatly impacts us as a Deaf community because Deaf and Hard of hearing survivors do not have equal access to information, and there are greater external factors that prevent them from being able to escape abusive relationships. It is why we support community-based deaf organizations that serve Deaf and Hard of hearing survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault,” said Christopher Soukup, CEO of CSD. “We believe now is the time to ensure that every Deaf and Hard of hearing survivor gets full access to resources and information, and with the #WhoWillAnswer crowdfunding campaign, we can make that happen.”

CSD, ADWAS, and the national coalition of deaf advocacy program providers are committed to making sure that every Deaf and Hard of hearing survivor has access to a Deaf advocate that can communicate with them directly in American Sign Language, no matter when they need help, or where they experience violence. CSD asks anyone interested in joining the #WhoWillAnswer campaign to visit whowillanswer.org, or to send an e-mail to contact@whowillanswer.org. For more information, please contact Ryan Hutchison at rhutchison@csd.org

About CSD — CSD (aka Communication Service for the Deaf, Inc.) was established in 1975, primarily to provide sign language interpreting services to deaf and hard of hearing adults in South Dakota. Today, CSD is an international organization that employs nearly 1,000 individuals in offices across the world, providing a broad continuum of social and human services programs, as well as telecommunications relay services. CSD is a private nonprofit agency dedicated to providing quality services; ensuring public accessibility; and increasing awareness of issues affecting the deaf, hard of hearing and individuals with speech disabilities. For more information, please visit www.csd.org

About ADWAS - Abused Deaf Women's Advocacy Services (ADWAS). Abused Deaf Women's Advocacy Services (ADWAS), founded in 1986 and located in Seattle, Washington, provides comprehensive services to deaf and deaf-blind victims/survivors of sexual assault, domestic violence, and stalking. ADWAS believes that violence is a learned behavior and envisions a world where violence is not tolerated. ADWAS established the nation's first transitional housing program for deaf and deaf-blind survivors, “A Place of Our Own.” It is committed to providing accessible and safe housing for deaf and deaf-blind women and their children. This ADWAS service model has been replicated in 42 deaf communities across the United States. For more information, visit www.adwas.org.

Contact Information:

Communication Service for the Deaf

Ryan Hutchison

(800) 642-6410

Contact via Email

www.csd.org

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Date:Nov 15, 2014
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