postheadericon DWAVE's Herstory


In the spring of 2000...

A group of Deaf women from Columbus participated in a series of training on domestic violence and sexual assault experienced by Deaf women and their children. The training was sponsored by an organization called the Abused Deaf Women Advocacy Services (ADWAS) located in Seattle, Washington. The training was funded by a federal grant provided by the US Department of Justice. The goal of the grant it is to train Deaf women and their children who experience abuse. To date, a total of 16 states have received training. Following the training, the Deaf women of Columbus formed a working committee that eventual became DWAVE Board. The group worked on bylaws and secured a non-profit status in February 2002. Presently, DWAVE has three fulltime, grant-funded positions and offers intervention and prevention to the Deaf and Hearing communities around issues of relationship and sexual violence.

ADWAS was founded in 1986. Some states that underwent the training have successfully implemented agencies providing direct services for Deaf survivors experiencing abuse. We strive to follow their leadership.

Each DWAVE board members completes a five-day training provided by Sexual Assault Response Network of Central Ohio (SARNCO) to become volunteers of crisis services offered at area hospitals. On July 1, 2003, DWAVE began working collaboratively with SARNCO to provide advocacy services to Deaf survivors of sexual assault who are admitted to the hospital.

Presently, SARNCO/DWAVE are recruiting more volunteers who are fluent in sign language and Deaf culture to work with Deaf survivors.

The ultimate goal of DWAVE is to operate a full-fledged agency run by Deaf people for Deaf people. We aim to follow the ADWAS program model.


- Work with SARNCO to provide services for Deaf survivors of sexual assault (began in 2003, currently providing)

- Establish a 24-hour crisis service for Deaf survivors through pager system

- Hire a director and advocate coordinator (began in 2011, currently providing)

- Recruit volunteers to operate the crisis service (began in 2003, currently providing)

- Provide training to volunteers on sexual assault/domestic violence (began in 2003, currently providing)

- Implement a support group for survivors (began in 2011, currently providing)

- Provide parenting classes

- Conduct advocacy services for survivors in courts (began in 2011, currently providing)

- Assist survivors with basic care for safety (began in 2011, currently providing)

- Increase community awareness about domestic violence and sexual assault among Deaf community (began in 2006, currently providing)

- Educate the Deaf community about the impact of domestic violence and sexual assault (began in 2006, currently providing)

- Recruit volunteers to provide safe home for survivors


Accomplishments from past to present:

- Established DWAVE board in 2000

- Raised operational monies with independent fundraising since 2000

- Secured 501(c)3 non-profit status in 2002

- Participated in training hosted by SARNCO since 2003

- Collaborated with SARNCO to provide services to Deaf survivors of sexual assault at Columbus area hospitals since 2003

- Obtained grant from Columbus Foundation in 2006

- Provided workshops to Deaf youth and adults on domestic violence and sexual assault since 2006

- Trained and contracted with 10 Community Trainers to provide workshops to the Deaf and hearing audiences about domestic violence, sexual assault, and their impact on the Deaf community in 2006

- Obtained grants from Ohio Department of Health and Department of Justice to hire full time staff in 2009 and 2010 respectively



Last Updated (Tuesday, 18 February 2014 13:02)