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"The Accessibility Responsiveness Tool provides a framework for domestic violence, sexual violence, and disability service organizations to think about the 'when, where, what, and how' of providing inclusive, accessible, and responsive services. These services for survivors with disabilities reach far beyond the accommodations required by the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act, 2000). First, this tool addresses inclusiveness, accessibility, and responsiveness by illustrating how policies and services are intertwined. Second, it addresses an agency’s day-to-day practices as well as its collective mindset and culture. Lastly, this tool reinforces collaborative partnerships which are essential to improving services for survivors with disabilities. This tool traces inclusiveness, accessibility, and responsiveness..."

Click to download the full tool... (PDF PDF)

Click to download the scoring instrument... (PDF PDF)

Domestic Violence Shelters and the ADA

by Marc Dubin, Esq.

It is widely believed that women with disabilities are disproportionately at risk of intimate partner violence2, yet they rarely seek the services of a shelter. It is the purpose of this Paper to raise the consciousness of providers of domestic violence services about how to better serve women3 with disabilities, and to enhance the ability of programs serving survivors to reach out to survivors with disabilities.

This paper is not intended to be a criticism of shelters. To the contrary, I have a great deal of respect for the commitment shelters have to serving survivors, and of the sacrifices they make to do so. Through my work with the victim’s rights community and the disability rights community, however, I am also aware of the great number of women across the country with disabilities who stay in abusive relationships because their local shelter is either not in compliance with federal law or has failed to adequately let the community know of its compliance and desire to serve these women.

Consider the words of Kimberly Black Wiseman, a woman who is a quadriplegic as a
result of a car accident when she was 16, who stayed in a violent relationship which
almost resulted in her death:

Looking back on my experiences of abuse, during the battering relationship in 1990 I did not perceive a shelter as an option because of my need for physical accessibility and attendant care. Back in 1990, basic community services, even restaurants, were generally not accessible to me because that was just after the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act. During the battering relationship, if I had had information on safety planning, education, and domestic violence, and had an accessible shelter available, I would have been better able to protect myself - to get out of the relationship before I was severely beaten and before the hospital and the police had to become involved to get me out.

For how many women with disabilities is this statement still true? What can be done to
improve the situation? The Center for Research on Women with Disabilities
Baylor College of MedicineWomen, at Baylor College of Medicine, has done excellent
work on the issue of women with disabilities and domestic violence for years, and offers
some excellent observations and recommendations. Read more... (PDF PDF)


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