Deaf Survivors Program
Seeing a survivor’s hope renewed and knowing they are not alone drives us to advocate for our victims and survivors every day.
Deaf Survivors Program (DSP) is a statewide program. We provide free and confidential services for all Deaf and Hard of Hearing survivors in Massachusetts.
Our services include:
- 24/7 VP hotline (508-502-7681)
- 1:1 counseling services
- Group counseling sessions
- Medical accompaniment
- Police accompaniment
- Court accompaniment
- Referrals to other services you may need
Our counselors are all Deaf/ASL fluent. If you are not fluent in ASL or need additional accommodations such as captioning or Certified Deaf Interpreters, we will provide them!
We have an Equipment Donation Program, where we provide survivors with:
- Doorbell signalers
- Smoke alarms
- Baby crier signalers
- Alarm clocks
- Personal amplification devices
We also provide professional trainings and webinars to interested agencies and organizations, and we offer Healthy Relationships classes to Deaf and Hard of Hearing students between the grades of 4-12.
All of our services can be provided in person or Zoom/VP.
Email Sabrina at DSP@pathwaysforchange.help or call our Video Phone Hotline 508-502-7681 for more information.
The Deaf Survivors’ Program (formerly Our Deaf Sisters’ Survivor Support Project) was born through a collaboration of three agencies, bringing together expertise and experience in survivors’ services, including prevention and education, the Deaf community and culture, and the deaf independent living movement. This Program, built within the structure of Pathways for Change, Inc., as the lead agency, and designed with the expertise and experience of Our Deaf Sisters’ Center and The Deaf/Hard of Hearing Independent Living Program of The Center for Living and Working, established a culturally appropriate and accessible counseling and advocacy program for deaf survivors of sexual assault and sexual abuse.
To date, there are no definite statistics available on the exact number of deaf individuals in Massachusetts. However, using the application of national prevalence rates to state population data, estimates of the approximate number of deaf individual residing in the Massachusetts regions can be determined, although estimates do vary based on the definition of “deafness”. Therefore, using the most recent estimate (Mitchell, 2005), it can be safely estimated that there are roughly 5,900 deaf individuals residing in Middlesex County and 3,075 deaf individuals residing Worcester County, making it approximately 8,975 deaf individuals in the Central Massachusetts region, the primary catchment area for the Deaf Survivor’s Program at Pathways for Change.
Recent research on sexual violence in the deaf community suggests that deaf individuals are significantly more likely to experience sexual assault than their hearing counterparts. For example, previous studies demonstrate that although sexual assault rates among college students are high, among the deaf community, these rates are nearly double (Francavillo, 2009). Similarly, in a 2010 study, deaf undergraduate students were found to be 1.5 times more likely to be victims of sexual harassment and sexual assault than hearing undergraduates at the same university (McQuiller Williams &Porter, 2010). Therefore, using preliminary investigations into the prevalence of sexual assault against deaf individuals, it can be estimated that approximately 2,549 to 4,308 deaf individuals living in the Central Massachusetts regions are survivors of sexual assault and would likely benefit from culturally and linguistically accessible services designed by and for deaf survivors.