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Addressing Partner Violence in the Deaf Community

Adapting an Evidence-based Curriculum for Use by Deaf Service Providers

Deaf individuals are at greater risk for victimization from Partner Violence (PV) than are hearing people. Awareness of PV prevention and intervention strategies in this population is limited by lower literacy and by "fund of information" gaps. Further, deaf individuals' access to PV medical, social, psychiatric, and legal services is curtailed by a host of communication and cultural barriers. The Department of Psychiatry's Deaf Wellness Center (DWC) has teamed with the Advocacy Services for Abused Deaf Victims (ASADV), a local, deaf-run organization, to pursue a project that will yield an evidence-based curriculum regarding PV prevention, assessment, and intervention strategies geared toward an audience of deaf service providers. The project's central philosophy is that the most effective way to help deaf individuals who experience or are at risk for PV is to advance the PV knowledge and prevention/intervention skills of key deaf individuals associated with organizations that serve deaf individuals and for these key individuals, in turn, to provide the necessary education and interventions to their fellow deaf citizens. The evidence-based source curriculum was developed by the Partner Violence Intervention Project (PVIP) at the University of Rochester's Department of Psychiatry, with input from that department's Laboratory of Interpersonal Violence and Victimization (LIVV). The project team will employ a process used routinely by the DWC to adapt (not merely translate) pre-existing educational materials for deaf learners. After thoroughly studying the source curriculum and distilling and prioritizing its "learning points" the project team will develop a blueprint for optimal conveyance of the source curriculum's learning points to the target deaf audience. Subsequently, the team will produce the adapted multimedia curriculum, to include up to 60 minutes of DVD film segments depicting deaf individuals demonstrating key curriculum concepts and practices through dialogue in American Sign Language (ASL), supplementing the curriculum's written and PowerPoint slide content. Existing pre- and post-test and evaluation materials also will be adapted for deaf users. Simultaneously, PV data emerging from the National Center for Deaf Health Research's ASL survey of Monroe County deaf residents will be analyzed and contribute to the adapted curriculum contents. A variety of sustained training and research activities on PV in the deaf population are planned, including curriculum dissemination, and utilization and assessment of the curriculum with ASADV's volunteer pool.

Robert Pollard, Ph.D. (Co-principal Investigator)
Professor of Psychiatry

Mary Mowl, M.A. (Co-principal Investigator)

This project is sponsored by the University of Rochester Department of Psychiatry's Community Partnership Development Award.