Securing Equal Justice

Ensuring Access for People with Disabilities and Deaf People

People with disabilities are much more vulnerable to harm. They’re three times more likely to be sexually abused as children, and three times more likely to be victims of violent crimes ranging from robbery to rape as adolescents and adults. As troubling, survivors rarely get the help they need to heal. Organizations dedicated to serving people with disabilities and Deaf people often have no experience working with victims of crime, while agencies focused on crime and victimization are typically ill-equipped to serve people with differing abilities.

Our work focuses on connecting professionals, breaking down systemic barriers to collaboration, and rigorously tracking performance—the only way to provide services that actually meet peoples’ needs. Much of our work is focused on survivors of domestic and sexual violence.

Related Work

Measuring Capacity to Serve Survivors with Disabilities

Performance Indicators

Using performance indicators, this one-of-a-kind resource relies on Vera’s Center on Victimization and Safety’s 10 years of experience at the intersection of violence and disability to help practitioners—from disability organizations, domestic violence programs, rape crisis centers, and dual agencies—measure their organizations’ capacity to serve s...

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  • Nancy Smith, Sandra Harrell, Jaclyn Smith, Ashley Demyan
November 12, 2015
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Making PREA and Victim Services Accessible for Incarcerated People with Disabilities

An Implementation Guide for Practitioners on the Adult and Juvenile Standards

The Prison Rape Elimination Act of 2003 (PREA) established a federal commission to draft national standards that address sexual abuse in confinement settings. PREA also required the U.S. Attorney General to promulgate regulations based on the standards that apply to all federal, state, and local confinement settings, including juvenile detention, l...

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  • Sandra Harrell, Allison Hastings, Margaret diZerega
October 05, 2015
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Culture, Language, and Access

Key Considerations for Serving Deaf Survivors of Domestic and Sexual Violence

Recent research suggests that Deaf women experience higher rates of sexual and domestic violence than their hearing counterparts, but are often shut off from victim services and supports that are ill-equipped to respond to their unique needs. As a result, they are denied access to services that could help them safely flee from abuse, heal from trau...

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  • Nancy Smith, Charity Hope
January 28, 2015
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Cultivating Evaluation Capacity

A Guide for Programs Addressing Sexual and Domestic Violence

To ensure that they deliver what they promise—and do so cost-effectively—social service providers that serve victims of sexual and domestic violence are beginning to recognize the benefits of evaluating their programs. Many service providers, however, embark on self-evaluations without the underlying infrastructure necessary to support evaluation. ...

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  • Nancy Smith, Charity Hope
January 07, 2015
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Designing Accessible Events for People with Disabilities and Deaf Individuals

Vera’s Center on Victimization and Safety developed these tip sheets to assist leaders in planning and implementing accessible meetings that address the needs of all people, including people with disabilities and Deaf people. They focus on how to select accessible venues, ensure successful meeting environments, and what to address during the planni...

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  • Center on Victimization and Safety at the Vera Institute of Justice
August 01, 2014
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Nicholas Turner Testimony on Law Enforcement Responses to Disabled Americans

Promising Approaches for Protecting Public Safety, to the U.S. Senate Committee on the Judiciary

Written testimony of Nicholas Turner, president and director of the Vera Institute of Justice, on law enforcement responses to individuals with disabilities and the potential for new approaches, submitted on April 29, 2014 to the United States Senate Committee on the Judiciary, Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights, and Human Rights. Addre...

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  • Nicholas Turner
April 29, 2014
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