Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Melissa Swauger, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Joann Migyanka, D.Ed.

Third Advisor

Dana Hysock Witham, Ph.D.

Fourth Advisor

Valerie Gunter, Ph.D.


This qualitative research project examined both hearing and Deaf advocates who serve victims of domestic violence and sexual assault. Respondents were surveyed regarding the current levels of resources and what additional resources are necessary to support Deaf victims of DV/SA. Respondents stated that the most prominent need was for funding, which influenced the three other common themes: the need to eliminate the communication barrier, training regarding the needs of Deaf victims and the need for support and collaboration in the local community. Theoretical factors recognized the disempowerment of advocates as they operate within an able-bodied, patriarchal society. Women, Deaf people and victims of DV/SA all belong to marginalized populations. Advocates who support them are also disempowered due to the stigmatized issues of DV/SA. Once the funding shortages are eliminated and other resources are satisfied, DV/SA advocates can better serve the Deaf community and help campaign for social change.