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The Building Bridges Project Updated December 2005

A Domestic Violence Against Women Disabilities Training and Technical Assistance Collaboration

December 1, 2005

Author: Amy Schwartz-Wallace

Approximately 54 million Americans live with a disability (as defined by the Americans With Disabilities Act of 1990) and research to date suggests that women with disabilities (cognitive, physical, psychiatric, or sensory) experience domestic violence, abuse, sexual assault and stalking at higher or similar rates than non-disabled women.   

In 2004, the Empire Justice Center partnered with the Center For Disability Rights ( and New York State Coalition Against Domestic Violence ( on a grant funded under the United States Department of Justice's Violence Against Women Act.   

This exciting and unique statewide (except NYC) initiative allows our three organizations to draw upon our relative expertise to help create an informed, educated, and inter-connected community of domestic violence and disability rights advocates in New York State who provide services to abused women with disabilities.  Under this project, we are seeking to reduce or eliminate the physical, programmatic and attitudinal barriers that hinder women with disabilities' access to and utilization of essential domestic violence-related crisis and support services. 

With this goal in mind, this Building Bridges Project staff will:

  • Provide technical assistance and support to domestic violence service providers and disability organizations on ADA compliance, safety planning, civil rights and other  issues affecting abused women with disabilities and women who are Deaf or hard of hearing     
  • Offer education and training to organizations on the issue of domestic violence and intimate partner stalking as it relates to women with disabilities and women who are Deaf or hard of hearing.
  • Develop a series of regional cross-trainings for domestic violence programs and disability services providers throughout the state (outside of New York City).  [These training are scheduled to begin in Winter 2006.  Please check back for dates and times.]  
  • Provide an ongoing communication network for domestic violence and disability service providers via listserv housed at Western New York Law Center (WNYLC)  [DV/DISABILITIES Listserv]     
  • House substantive information, resources, and fact sheets about domestic violence and women with disabilities on the Empire Justice Center's website
  • Create a model training for Rochester/Monroe County addressing service provision to and cultural/communication barriers for victims of domestic violence who are deaf or hard of hearing. These trainings were conducted in August 2005. 
  • Develop a comprehensive self-assessment tool for domestic violence programs called the "Guide to Achieving Access".  This tool will allow domestic violence programs to critically evaluate their own architectural, programmatic, and attitudinal accessibility to women with disabilities. [COMING SOON IN 2006!]    

For more information about The Building Bridges Project or for training or technical assistance, please contact the Empire Justice Center's Amy Schwartz at:


Supporting Documents:

The Building Bridges Project

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