DeafHope is a unique initiative run by national charity SignHealth to raise awareness about the high levels of domestic violence and sexual abuse experienced by Deaf women who use British Sign Language to communicate – and are therefore unable to use most mainstream services or even be aware they exist.
SignHealth is working with Women’s Aid to develop the first BSL DV information materials for Deaf women and are currently working on translating and filming Expect Respect and the Survivor’s Handbook. SignHealth is highly innovative and has won two national awards for its ground-breaking SignTranslate and InterpreterNow remote interpreting services (using online and relay BSL interpreting).
DeafHope has proved very successful in uncovering often serious and complex abuse cases which have been previously unrecognised, undisclosed or unreported. The Young DeafHope work in schools has resulted in action being taken to address cases of Child Protection. DeafHope has successfully helped women remove themselves and their children from potentially life-threatening situations, and address immediate practical issues such as housing/benefits/criminal prosecutions and are working with them to begin a process of recovery.