Derbyshire Police and Crime Commissioner Angelique Foster received an insight into efforts to tackle domestic abuse and exploitation among women in the deaf and hard of hearing community during a visit to a charity.
Commissioner Angelique Foster visited Deaf-initely Women based in Belper – a charity run by women for women in the deaf, deafblind and hard of hearing community in Derby, Derbyshire and beyond.
The organisation is the only women-led deaf support organisation in the UK and their work is critical to protecting vulnerable women from the risk of harm and supporting them to cope with their lives and increase their confidence through new opportunities.
Commissioner Angelique Foster provided Deaf-initely Women with funding to deliver its ‘DEaf Abuse Free’ programme which is aimed at breaking down the barriers faced by deaf, deafblind and hard of hearing women as victims of abuse, helping them to identify exploitation and harm and giving them the confidence to report it.
The project, which provides specialist support for victims of abuse who have been bullied, exploited, trolled and abused, has funded a BSL signer to the role of Deaf Abuse Free Personal Navigational Support Worker over the past 12 months to support deaf and hard of hearing women to report abuse to the police and access mainstream domestic and sexual abuse services.
The support worker, who is Independent Domestic Violence Advisor (IDVA)-trained, has so far provided one to one support to 11 people.
The charity has also launched the Freedom Programme training session throughout Derby and Derbyshire to raise awareness of abuse with BSL interpreters, captions, video/email/text facilities to meet a wide range of communication needs.
Tackling violence against women and girls is a top priority for Commissioner Angelique Foster and supporting groups such as Deaf-initely Women is vital to her plans to build a safer Derbyshire.
She said: “Reducing women’s risk of crime or violence is critical to my work. I am determined to ensure women and everyone living in Derbyshire has access to the information they need to protect themselves against crime and the practical and emotional support they need to reduce isolation and increase confidence.
“Since Deaf-initely Women launched, many deaf women have shared experiences of being scammed, bullied, abused or exploited as a result of their hearing impairment. This has to change which is why I fully support the charity’s efforts to empower these women to protect themselves and prevent further exploitation in the future.
“I was impressed with the charity’s plans for the future and the services they are already providing to promote greater independence and resilience and build a network of support for women to challenge discrimination together.”
For support please contact Deaf-initely via www.deafinitelywomen.org.uk/
Deaf-initely is currently raising funds to train more people in this specialist area you find out more here: https://www.deafinitelywomen.org.uk/donation
Media Enquiries: Sallie Blair – 01283. 821012 / 07702 541401