The number of deaf individuals in the United States range from 1 to 140 individuals out of 1,000 (Galludet Research Institute - Accessing Safety Initiative, 2008), though determining a number is complicated based on varying definitions of deafness
Less is known about how many deaf women are victims of domestic violence, but we know that women with disabilities have higher incidences of trauma and fewer mental health options (APA, 2008)
Within the deaf community, there is a “double code of silence” related to domestic violence because services are typically not culturally sensitive or accessible for deaf survivors and because the deaf community has historically misunderstood or minimized the issue (Rems-Smario, 2007)
Deaf woman have increased barriers to services and are likely at greater risk for fatalities
Many deaf and hard of hearing women seek assistance at local mainstream organizations where service providers are likely unfamiliar with ASL and deaf cultural norms and are therefore at a disadvantage when trying to establish healing relationships and effectively serve deaf individuals.
Therefore professionals working with deaf clients may benefit from an exploration of several national and community resources for consultation and assistance
In Georgia there are very few resources available to meet the mental health needs of deaf individuals
One organization G.R.E.A.T. D.A.Y., Inc. provides outpatient mental health services to the deaf and hard-of-hearing community and the director is Kinga Sherrill, M.S., NCC, LPC