New tool on serving survivors with disabilities; NZ Disability Action Plan and Strategy updates

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The Vera Institute of Justice’s Center on Victimization and Safety (USA) has developed a tool to support organisations that address domestic and sexual violence to track their progress in serving survivors of domestic and sexual violence who have disabilities.

Measuring Capacity to Serve Survivors with Disabilities: Performance Indicators covers a wide range of service provisions and agency operations. It can be used by organisations at all stages of addressing the issue of effectively serving survivors with disabilities, from those just starting to those who have been working at this intersection for many years. The guides provide step-by-step information on implementation.

There are separate implementation guides and scoring tools for: disability organisations, domestic violence programmes, rape crisis centres, and programmes that address domestic and sexual violence.

The indicators in the guide are organised into two primary areas: commitment and capacity. Commitment is demonstrating willingness and determination to address domestic violence against people with disabilities and Deaf people. Capacity is having the knowledge, skills and resources to do so. 

The Vera Institute says, "Adopting measurement tools in your work can lead to the recognition of best practices and identify areas for improvement. It also allows you to demonstrate your effectiveness through numbers that will help you gain buy-in from new allies, as well as provide valuable information for funding opportunities to continue your work to address violence against people with disabilities."

The Vera Institute has also published Culture, language and access: Key considerations for serving Deaf survivors of domestic and sexual violence (2015).

New Zealand

In New Zealand, an updated Disability Action Plan 2014–2018 was released by Disability Issues Minister Nicky Wagner in December 2015.

Priority 8 in the Plan is to "Reduce the number of disabled children and adults who are victims of violence, abuse or neglect."

Ms Wagner said the next step is to begin revising the Disability Strategy, which provides the "'big picture' vision for what we want New Zealand to look like for disabled people in ten years’ time and beyond."

More information is available on the Office for Disability Issues website.

Further research and resources on violence against disabled people are available in the Clearinghouse library.