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National Deaf Services Program

Clear communication is necessary for victims and survivors when seeking help and receiving services. This is especially true for victims and survivors who are D/deaf, hard of hearing, and Deaf/Blind (Deaf). For many, the best way to communicate is in person, using sign language, ProTactile, or an assistive communication device.

Services that best meet the needs of victims and survivors who are Deaf are provided in the preferred form of communication of the individual and are rooted in Deaf culture. These services are “for Deaf, by Deaf” services. However, these types of services are often not available due to the limited number of culturally Deaf specific domestic violence and sexual assault programs.

Additionally, most hearing organizations do not employ Deaf advocates, so few of them are well-positioned to provide culturally appropriate services to victims and survivors who are Deaf. As a result, many of these victims and survivors are either unserved or underserved.  

Through its grant programs and initiatives, the Office on Violence Against Women (OVW) supports several projects focused on increasing in-person services to victims and survivors who are Deaf. Despite these efforts, in-person services to victims and survivors remain limited. As a result, many are left without a means of accessing safe, culturally, and linguistically appropriate services. Virtual services may be a way to bridge that gap. While virtual services do not replace the need for in-person services, virtual services may provide victims and survivors with the culturally and linguistically appropriate crisis intervention, advocacy, and other healing resources they need.

The goal of this project is to increase and strengthen the opportunities and access points for victims and survivors who are Deaf to receive help, which would include:

  • Creating new virtual crisis and long-term services
  • Building the capacity of current in-person services
  • Developing new in-person services

This is Phase 2 of a two-part initiative to expand and strengthen services for victims and survivors who are Deaf and have experienced domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking. Under Phase 1, OVW issued the National Deaf Service Line Initiative solicitation, asking applicants to identify the needs of victims and survivors and write a report with recommendations for how to address these barriers to access.

This project resulted in the Expanding Deaf-Specific Victim Services Nationwide: A 5-Year Strategy report.  

In 2023, the National Deaf Services Program made one award totaling $5 million.

Once posted, the solicitation to apply for this program can be found on OVW’s website. Members of the public can also sign up for notifications on that website, and grant announcements are posted to OVW’s Twitter.

National Deaf Services Program Awards

Activating Change, Inc. Wilmington Delaware $5,000,000
  Total Award Amount   $5,000,000
  Total Number of Awards   1

Contact Us

If you have questions about the National Deaf Services Program, you can email us or call 202-307-6026.