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Domestic violence

Resources for Working with Deaf Victims of Domestic and Sexual Violence

Below are resources that advocates working with Deaf victims of domestic and sexual violence can use to better support their clients.

1. Litigating for Deaf Clients 

The American Bar Association, Commission on Domestic and Sexual Violence has put together concrete tips for working with Deaf survivors of domestic and sexual violence in court. To access this tool kit, please click here.

2. Free Interpreting Services for Deaf Victims of Crime 

DeafLEAD is now offering a 24/7/365 nationwide free sign language interpreting service for Deaf individuals who have been victims of crime, as well as for hearing service providers working with Deaf victims. The DeafLEAD crisis interpreters are CI/CT nationally certified with extensive training and experience working with Deaf victims of crime. To learn more about this service, please click here.

3. Videophone Crisis Line for the Deaf Community 

DeafLEAD is now offering a 24/7/365 nationwide crisis videophone hotline service to Deaf individuals who are victims of crime. Deaf individuals are now able to access immediate assistance and resources that are both culturally and linguistically accessible using a trauma-informed approach. To learn more about this service, please click here.

The National Coalition against Domestic Violence is also a great resource for general information about domestic violence. This is great background reading if you’re just getting started and want to learn more. The Resources section of its website has information with statistics, and a section is devoted to the question of “Why do victims stay?” Background information – it is recommended that you review this information prior to jumping straight into pro bono work in this area

NCADV- Statistics

NCADV- Why do vicitims stay

NCADV- Signs of abuse

NCADV- Dynamics of abuse

The Duluth Model – Wheels to understand the dynamics of DV

Anyone who has done this work will tell you that their training likely involved looking at one or more of the wheels developed by Domestic Abuse Intervention Programs, based in Duluth, MN. You can look at one of their DV wheels here: NCADV- State Coalitions

Pro bono work – resources

State coalitions against domestic and sexual violence:

Every state has a Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence.  These coalitions are excellent resources for free training that’s important for doing pro bono work in this area.  These coalitions can also connect you with agencies/non-profits that can use your pro bono assistance. Your state coalition should be your first stop for looking for pro bono opportunities. Here’s a link to every state Coalition, with contact information, from the National Coalition against Domestic Violence (“NCDV”): Here


The ABA Commission on Sexual and Domestic Violence sponsors probono.net, which provides helpful information for individuals who want to get involved with doing pro bono work for DV survivors at the following link: National Domestic Violence Directory 

This website allows the ability for search for opportunities by state: Domestic Violence Pro Bono Guide

Lethality risk assessment

It is crucial for anyone doing pro bono domestic violence work to understand how to properly assess the lethality risk your client, the DV survivor, faces. The Johns Hopkins School of Nursing has information on the Danger Assessment 

The same website offers training on how to become certified to do these assessments, at which point you’ll be able to use the assessment in your pro bono work.

The Maryland Network Against Domestic Violence has a model that is intended for use by first responders, but could be easily amended for use by a pro bono attorney: