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Community Services for Every1 creates region's first domestic violence program to aid victims with disabilities

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Fri, Sep 4th 2020 01:50 pm

Federal grant from Department of Justice will fund continuation of program

Community Services for Every1 received a federal grant from the Department of Justice through the Office of Violence against Women in the amount of $325,000 to fund its new domestic violence program to aid victims with a disability, and partner with the Family Justice Center and Niagara University to continue an ongoing collaborative designed to benefit people diagnosed with intellectual/developmental disabilities who have experienced domestic violence in Western New York. This new division in the agency is the first of its kind in the Buffalo-Niagara Region providing resources specifically tailored to assist individuals with disabilities.

“Four years ago, Community Services for Every1 identified a need in the disability community for resources for individuals who have been victims of domestic violence and who also have an intellectual/developmental disability. In partnering with the Family Justice Center, we learned that, while domestic violence resources are available within the community, these programs do not have adequate training or resources to accommodate individuals who have a disability. Since then, Community Services created our domestic violence division to specifically help individuals with a disability who have experienced domestic violence,” said Mindy Cervoni, president and CEO at Community Services for Every1.

Oftentimes, cases involving an individual with an intellectual/developmental disability require additional resources and a specific knowledge base to help with the barriers a disability may create. Through research, Community Services found there were no domestic violence programs in the region specifically created to help overcome those barriers and help individuals with a disability.

“The End Violence against Women with Disabilities Grant will allow Community Services to continue providing training, consultation, information and services to the Western New York community to improve how we serve those living with a disability who have been victims of violence. We look forward to continuing the great work we started. Through our collaborations throughout the region, we will conduct trainings on the intersection of domestic violence and disabilities to disability organizations, domestic violence agencies, as well as legal and law enforcement entities. We know people with disabilities are three times more likely to experience rape, sexual assault, aggravated assault and robbery than those without disabilities. Our mission will continue to work towards eliminating that number and helping people who have suffered overcome their obstacles and provide a safe place to heal,” Cervoni said.

For individuals who may have been victims of domestic violence, Community Services and the Family Justice Center can provide assistance. Call 716-558-SAFE.

The mission at Community Services is to partner with individuals of all abilities to reach their fullest potential, protecting their rights and promoting their independence and inclusion in the community.

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