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Health - Abused Deaf Children

When Deaf Children Are Hurt

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Updated October 18, 2010

Written or reviewed by a board-certified physician. See About.com's Medical Review Board.

Sometimes a deaf child will be abused. Deaf children who may not have enough language to communicate, may be particularly vulnerable. Help is available for a deaf child who has been abused, or is at risk for being abused.

Where Deaf Children Are Abused

Abuse takes place in families, and at schools. The abuse at schools for the deaf may be sexual in nature. Sexual abuse of deaf children has been addressed in the About.com article Sexual Abuse of Deaf Students in Schools.

Help for Deaf Abused Children

An abused deaf child may need help from specially trained, signing therapists. Specialized clinics and organizations exist to aid or advocate for abused deaf children. In addition, some deaf abused children may even need to stay in special residency programs.

One such organization is the Advocacy Council for Abused Deaf Children in Los Angeles, California. The council works on prevention, and improving services for deaf abused children. Social service agencies that service deaf women and their families may also have services for abused deaf children. Some of these organizations are cited in the About.com article Domestic and Sexual Violence Against Deaf Women. Abused deaf children may also have specific mental health needs.

Multimedia Resources on Abused Deaf Children

The Described and Captioned Media Program (a federally funded program that provides free loans of captioned films and videos to families and schools with deaf students) has multimedia on child abuse, such as:

  • Abused kids: see it! Stop it! This is a DVD and streamed video for 11th and 12th graders that explains about child abuse and what to do if child abuse is suspected.
  • Child Abuse: Family Matters. This is a DVD for 10th through 12th graders that explains about abuse.
  • Eternal Scars: Physical and Emotional Child Abuse (also available as a streamed web video). This is a general educational production for teachers, to help them recognize the symptoms of child abuse, and learn what to do.

Registration (free) is required for the Described and Captioned Media Program.

Conferences for Child Services Professionals

Abuse of deaf children is often a presentation topic at specialized conferences. For example, the National Center for Victims of Crime has held conferences and training sessions that included abuse of children with disabilities. Another specialized conference that sometimes addresses abuse of deaf children is the annual conference of the Society for Social Work and Research. Still another is the National Conference on Child Abuse and Neglect sponsored by the Children's Bureau of the United States Department of Health and Human Services' Administration for Children and Families.

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