Before Deaf Unity was born in 2005, the Deaf, DeafBlind, and Hard of Hearing people in the Deaf community who experience domestic violence, dating violence, or stalking encountered barriers to services and systems. Due to the lack of culturally competent staff who could communicate in American Sign Language (ASL) and the ignorance of methods about the multi-layered complexities of victimization and trauma experienced by Deaf people. Deaf people have historically been perceived through a medical paradigm that is having a loss of hearing or hearing disability. It is not the loss of hearing per se, but barriers to communication and access to information not presented in visual form. As a result of the lack of communication and information access or understanding of the Deaf Community as a whole, access to services was severely limited for Deaf people. For example, when a victim who is Deaf, alone, isolated, and in constant fear, and her friends think she should leave her partner, to whom does she go for help, and how does she do so? What resources does she have access to?
Deaf Unity has grown to become 501(c)(3) in 2008. Deaf Unity is the only safety net that can provide Deaf victims support and validation, not only does Deaf Unity provide services like other DV/SA programs, but the uniqueness and specialty are ASL- and Deaf Culture-based. The critical areas of services are safety planning, supportive advocacy and counseling, co-advocacy, and community education. Deaf Unity, with its experienced and trained staff, can reduce many barriers - language, culture, societal attitudes, and accessibility of other services - for and with Deaf victims in ways mainstream advocates cannot. Deaf Unity serves all Deaf victims of sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking, in Wisconsin. Deaf Unity is the state’s only service organization with unique expertise on the linguistic, cultural, and historical trauma experiences of Deaf victims with American Sign Language (ASL) as the core language of access to services for Deaf victims.
All Deaf people - adults and children - have the right to a healthy and violence-free life.
Transformational Change – We are committed to continuous improvement. We are consistently educating ourselves, growing, and stretching to the next level so you will receive quality support and care. We are agents of change. We want to make a difference in the community and you.Integrity – We are committed to honesty and transparency.
Integrity is our character that stems from a condition of our hearts.
Empowerment – We believe in collaboration and teamwork. We strive to enhance our organizational culture by helping each other to find creative solutions and better contribute to the communities.
Smiles – We choose to be positive no matter how things may look. Smiles represents our outward display of being optimistic and faithful in our work, character, and as leaders.