July 25, 2005
From: DAWCAS - Jul 25, 2005
Deaf Abused Women & Children Advocacy Services
Contact: Mary E. Wambach, Executive Director July 20, 2005
Dr. Patti Singleton, Chair of the Board
Drpatti@tmail.com or (512) 223-6262
For Immediate Release
DAWCAS â€“ Deaf Abused Women and Children's Advocacy Services - Texas' only domestic violence and sexual assault intervention program for those who are deaf or with hearing loss, has been abruptly informed of discontinuation of its federal VOCA (Victims of Crime Act) funds. DAWCAS was informed of this decision on July 18, 2005 and it is effective immediately. Among the many services provided through this funding were the Crisis Intervention Hotline (one of only two in the United States), counseling, advocacy, legal advocacy and group support.
Established in 1998, and providing direct and outreach services to over 400 deaf and hard of hearing persons annually, DAWCAS has performed unique and direct client services, referral and crisis intervention for victims in the Travis, Hays, Bastrop and Williamson area who are deaf, hard of hearing, deaf/blind and late deafened. Lack of access to many existing programs and shelters inspired the area's deaf community to request organizational and technical assistance from ADWAS (Abused Deaf Women's Advocacy Services) based in Seattle, WA. With the support and assistance of ADWAS, SafePlace in Austin, the Texas Council on Family Violence and numerous community members, DAWCAS was able to obtain start-up funding to address the needs of an estimated 10,000+ persons in the Austin area who are deaf or with hearing loss.
Patti Singleton, Ph.D, Chair of the DAWCAS Board of Directors, stated that "DAWCAS has been the ONLY program in Texas devoted to serving deaf victims of domestic violence or sexual assault, and these cuts will greatly endanger the safety of our deaf clients and their familiesâ€¦it only takes lack of understanding to shut down critical programs", and noted the strong community interest and demand for DAWCAS services.
For the immediate future, DAWCAS will make referrals for all direct client services to organizations providing such programs (but often without staff fluent in Sign Language) such as SafePlace, the Women's Advocacy Project, and other area programs and shelters. Matt Starr, Senior Director of SafePlace noted that "This is a tremendous loss for the community. While SafePlace has always served deaf clients and will work to address the immediate impacts to our resources with the potential influx of well over 70+ deaf clients, the real issue is the need for the cultural sensitivity and awareness that only DAWCAS can provide."
With reduced staffing and resources, DAWCAS will maintain its Outreach and Education program (funded by Texas Health and Human Services Commission), as well as the (unfunded) Hotline Crisis Intervention service, for as long as unrestricted funds will permit.
Mary E. Wambach, Executive Director, says that "DAWCAS welcomes assistance and ideas from professionals, organizations, and the public, and donations are very much appreciated. Our community depends on us for safety, security and resources for problems that are not otherwise addressed by today's society. We have come too far at a high cost to fall down on the job now!"
Those interested in providing assistance, resources, ideas or contributions are asked to please call (use TTY or dial 711 Relay for facilitation with the phone): (512) 386-6172, FAX: (512) 385-0662, or email to firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
DAWCAS is a private, nonprofit organization that uses public, donated and fee-for-service funds.
1515A Grove Boulevard â— Austin, Texas 78741
TTY: (512) 386-6172 â— FAX: (512) 385-0662 â— www.dawcas.org
D A W C A S
Deaf Abused Women and Children Advocacy Services
To our valued clients,
We are sorry to announce that DAWCAS recently experienced a budget cut, and because of this, we are no longer able to accept clients or offer direct services to individuals, effective July 22, 2005. DAWCAS will remain open to provide community education services only.
The following services will no longer be offered as of July 22:
Information and Referral Services
Personal and Legal Advocacy
Our Tuesday night "Advocacy Series" will be replaced by the "Community Resource Forums" and will continue through August unless we inform you otherwise. It is still open to the public and all are welcome to attend. The Forum is an alternate way of getting personal and legal information, and is a wonderful way to ask questions.
If you have a domestic violence or sexual abuse emergency, our emergency hotline is still open to you. Our Emergency Hotline number is firstname.lastname@example.org. Please remember that we can only serve those in the Austin area with this hotline.
It has been our pleasure serving you and we are sorry that we are not able to continue doing so at this time. We hope you all will keep in touch and attend future DAWCAS events; it is also our hope that one day soon we can offer you our services again.
The Board and Staff of DAWCAS