Deaf IGNITE Is Now A Part Of The Willow Family

Two women are sitting on a sofa. One is signing and looks distressed, while the other sits and listens.

Services for Deaf Survivors

A middle age woman stands on a black background, she is paused in the middle of signing with both hands raised.

Resource Videos in ASL

Three women wearing identical purple shirts with ASL fingerspelling design stand next to each other holding coffee mugs.

Support Us

We are a signing-centric service supporting the needs of Deaf survivors of domestic violence and/or sexual violence - for all gender identities.

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We are a national leader with tremendous legacy, skill set and vital knowledge in serving the unique needs of survivors who communicate with American Sign Language in Monroe County.

As a program of the Willow Center, our infrastructure strength and community partnerships that have been built over the last 40 years allow us provide comprehensive and specialized services to over 7,500 survivors each year – more than 60 of whom are Deaf. 

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Deaf individuals are 1.5x more likely to be victims of domestic violence.

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Deaf Survivors in Monroe County supported each year by Willow

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Estimated Rochester Deaf in largest per capita population in the USA

Our range of specialized services in Monroe County include supporting survivors who use ASL and the organizations and agencies that serve them.

We provide a wide range of advocacy services such as ensuring dedicated interpreter access for the victim in the courtroom, accompanying survivors to any medical or court appointments, assisting with getting an Order of Protection, contacting police and shelter support.
  • Learn about available resources/supports/referrals
  • Crisis intervention safety planning
  • Medical/Hospital accompaniment
  • Court accompaniment
  • Assist with getting Order of Protection (OP)
  • Contact police/assist with making police report(s)
  • Shelter support
Our short-term counseling is conducted in both individual and group sessions with American Sign Language as the primary communication mode.
  • Short-Term
  • Individual and Group
  • Strength-Based
  • Empowerment-Focused

 Our empowerment sessions are conducted in ASL and works to help individuals increase their understanding of abuse.

• Learn about domestic violence and sexual assault
• Identify signs of power
• Recognize controlling behaviors

We provide a wide variety of workshops and training on topics in ASL or on matters related to supporting Deaf survivors of abuse. We work with local colleges and universities, DVSA agencies, Deaf clubs and organizations, health care providers and law enforcement agencies to develop unique subject matter expertise.
  • Local colleges and universities
  • Domestic violence and sexual assault agencies
  • Greek life
  • Deaf clubs and organizations
  • Health care providers
  • Law enforcement

Advocacy

We provide a wide range of advocacy services such as ensuring   interpreter access for the victim in the courtroom, accompanying survivors to any medical or court appointments, assisting with getting an Order of Protection, contacting police and shelter support.

Counseling

Our short-term counseling is conducted in both individual and group sessions with American Sign Language as the primary communication mode.

Empowerment Sessions

 Our empowerment sessions are conducted in ASL and works to help individuals increase their understanding of abuse.

• Learn about domestic violence and sexual assault
• Identify signs of power
• Recognize controlling behaviors

Education & Training

We provide a wide variety of workshops and training on topics in ASL or on matters related to supporting Deaf survivors of abuse. We work with local colleges and universities, DVSA agencies, Deaf clubs and organizations, health care providers and law enforcement agencies to develop unique subject matter expertise.

Contact Us

Videophone: 585-286-2713
Email: DeafIgnite@WillowCenterNY.org
SMS: 585-232-2854

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Services are free and confidential. Safety is paramount. We offer no judgments about whether a person should stay or leave the relationship. Our role is to empower those we serve, not tell them what to do.

Willow Domestic Violence Center has provided services for the Greater Rochester community for over 40 years. Each year, Willow Center reaches more than 7,000 people right here in Monroe County.

In 2015, Willow Center changed its name from Alternatives for Battered Women (ABW) to better reflect the breadth of services we provide and the clients we serve. In 2020, we combined with Deaf IGNITE to expand the breadth of our programs.

Willow Center is the only New York State certified domestic violence service provider serving Monroe County, NY. Just over half of our clients are from the City of Rochester and nearly half are from the surrounding suburbs.

Willow Center provides a full-continuum of free and confidential services, without judgement. We provide opportunities to contact us in American Sign Language and our advocates have experience navigating the unique culture and communication needs of the Deaf .

Herstory

On March 1998, five Deaf women from Rochester, New York, participated in a week-long intensive training program that was provided by Abused Deaf Women’s Advocacy Services (ADWAS), the first internationally known Deaf-run domestic violence and sexual assault agency, in Seattle, Washington. These women were: Beth Anne Metlay, Sharon C. Staehle, S. Martina Moore-Reid, Sharon Haynes, and Vicki T. Hurwitz.

From 1998 to 2009, in Rochester, Advocacy Services for Abused Deaf Victims, ASADV, was purely made up of volunteers. Paid staff was finally made possible in January 2010. ASADV received two federal grants in the fall of 2009. One was from the Department of Justice’s Office on Violence Against Women (OVW), under the Cultural & Linguistic Grant program. This was a joint application with ADWAS. The other grant was from the Americans Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), part of the stimulus package, and was awarded to ASADV by the NYS Department of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS).

In 2016, ASADV changed its name to IGNITE to empower the community and to continue its mission and vision in a way that is setting new.

 

Five middle-age women group together for a photo. All are smiling and wearing glasses.

Past ASADV Executive Directors

Vicki Hurwitz (1998 — 2001)
Sharon Staehle (2001 — 2003)
Vicki Hurwitz (2003 — 2006)
Mary Mowl (2006 — 2008)
Sharon Haynes (2008 — 2009)
Erin Esposito (2010 — 2017)

Past IGNITE Executive Directors

Kelly Metz Davis (2018-2018)
Susan Demers-McLetchie (2018 – Present)

Deaf IGNITE Community Advisory Committee

The Willow Center for Domestic Violence maintains an advisory board for its IGNITE Deaf services programs. The advisory committee is made up of individuals from the greater Rochester community including individuals who are Deaf, hard of hearing, Deafblind, CODA, or working professionals in relevant fields who help to represent the needs and interests of the communities we serve. In addition, one member of Deaf IGNITE sits on the Willow Center Board of Directors.

Kelly Metz Davis

Advisory Committee Chair
& Willow Board Member

Tim Albert

Director of Student Life Team, Student Life at the National Technical Institute for the Deaf

Patti Canne
Deaf Social Worker for the University of Rochester Medical Center’s (URMC) Memory Care Program

Yvette Chirenje
Teaching Assistant for the Department of Business Studies at the National Technical Institute for the Deaf

Carrie Fisher
Director of Rochester School for the Deaf Student Life Programs

Michelle Gerson-Wagner
Assistant Director of Pre-College Outreach at RIT/NTID

Vicki Hurwitz
Outreach Center Director at Rochester School for the Deaf

Mary Karol Matchett
Assistant Vice President for Student and Academic Services at the National Technical Institute for the Deaf

Dr. Tiffany Panko
Research Assistant Professor at RIT/NTID Research Center on Culture and Language and Deaf Health Lab Director

TJ Sanger II
Assistant Director of Counseling and Academic Advising Services at the National Technical Institute for the Deaf

LeAnne Valentine
Marriage and Family/Sex Therapist at the Deaf Wellness Center.

Help support our programs by making a donation to the Willow Center today.