Governor Hochul Announces Launch of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Advisory Council on Domestic Violence

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Governor Kathy Hochul today announced the launch of the Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Advisory Council, which will build the capacity of the domestic violence and intellectual and developmental disabilities systems to increase access to domestic violence services for people with IDPs who are also survivors of domestic violence. violence. Through the Advisory Council, the New York State Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence and the New York State Developmental Disabilities Planning Council will work together to develop and implement training for service providers in intellectual and developmental disabilities and domestic violence. The advisory board will provide expertise and knowledge to inform project development, review and offer feedback on training deliverables, consult on outreach strategies to promote accessibility, and participate in a pilot training delivery project.

“My mother started a shelter for victims of domestic and gender-based violence, so strengthening services for vulnerable communities, including people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, is an issue close to my heart,” Governor Hochul said. “The pandemic has tragically led to an increase in domestic and gender-based violence, which is why we are committed to ensuring that survivors can safely access the help and services they need.”

Executive Director of the New York State Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence, Kelli Owens, said: “Persons with disabilities experience domestic and sexual violence at extremely high rates. As the OPDV transforms gender-based violence service delivery systems to be more survivor-centred, trauma-informed and culturally appropriate, we need to make the voices of those who have not before had a seat at the table heard. I am proud to serve a Governor who recognizes the unique needs of people with disabilities and supports initiatives that create accessibility and equity for all.

OPDV will work with a consulting agency specializing in intellectual and developmental disabilities to develop comprehensive training on identifying and working with IDD people facing abuse. This training will help both DV and DDI provider staff develop the skills to respond to people with DID who experience DV and connect survivors to appropriate resources and supports.

Kerri E. Neifeld, Commissioner of the New York State Office for Persons with Developmental Disabilities, said: “Women with disabilities are three times more likely to be victims of domestic violence than their non-disabled counterparts. We must work to support and empower people with developmental disabilities who have been victims of domestic and intimate partner violence and ensure that their I am grateful to Governor Kathy Hochul, the OPDV, and the NYS DDPC for their leadership in establishing the Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Advisory Council to improve the safety and well-being of New Yorkers. OPWDD is committed to partnering with our state agency colleagues in this endeavour.

New York State Developmental Disabilities Planning Council Acting Executive Director Vicky Hiffa said: “We know that people with disabilities are more likely to experience domestic violence than people without disabilities. The Developmental Disabilities Planning Council is pleased to partner with the Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence on this important initiative. aimed at educating IDD staff and DV provider agencies on how to recognize the signs of domestic violence for people with disabilities and respond appropriately with accessible information and resources We commend OPDV for choosing a strong advisory board to shape the project and are confident that these members will help strengthen the project’s results.”

The list of members is available below:

  • Nancy Nowak – Senior Counsel in the Protection and Advocacy Program for People with ID/DD, Disability Rights NY
  • Vanessa E. Eybers – Director of Employment Services, Camp Venture
  • Janna Kopacki – Director of Benefits Services, Southern Adirondack Independent Living Center
  • Michelle Cook – Tribal Care Management Supervisor, St. Regis Mohawk Tribe
  • Imani Whitfield – Crime Victims Advocate, Albany County DA
  • Alexa Donnelly – Deputy Executive Director, Person Centered Care Services
  • Anastasia Holoboff – Senior Legal Advisor, Women Enabled International
  • Laura Holland – Owner, All Ability Wellness
  • Mona Kelly – Paraprofessional, Amityville Public Schools
  • Andrew Richardson – Direct Support Professional, Heritage Christian Services
  • Susan Ruff – Director of Advocacy, Southern Tier Independence Center
  • Tiffany Pavone – Project Director, Community Services for All1

The Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence is the nation’s only executive-level state agency dedicated to the issue of domestic violence. The state’s Domestic and Sexual Violence Hotline provides free, confidential assistance 24/7 and is available in most languages: 800-942-6906 (call), 844-997 -2121 (text) or @opdv.ny.gov (chat).

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