Thursday, October 19, 2017

Domestic Violence Impacts People with Disabilities

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. 

By Timothy Redd
Domestic Violence Awareness Month (DVAM) evolved from the "Day of Unity" held in October 1981 and conceived by the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence. The mission was to connect advocates across the nation who were working to end violence against women and their children.
Timothy Redd

The Day of Unity soon became an entire week devoted to a range of activities conducted at the local, state, and national level. The activities conducted were as varied and diverse as the program sponsors but had common themes:

  • Mourning those who have died because of domestic violence
  • Celebrating those who have survived
  • Connecting those who work to end violence

These three themes remain a key focus of DVAM events today. In October 1987, the first Domestic Violence Awareness Month was observed. That same year marks the initiation of the first national domestic violence toll-free hotline. In 1989, the U.S. Congress passed Public Law 101-112 designating October of that year as National Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Such legislation has passed every year since with National Coalition Against Domestic Violence providing key leadership in this effort. Each year, the Day of Unity is celebrated the first Monday of Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

Anyone of any race, age, sexual orientation, religion, disability or gender can be a victim – or perpetrator – of domestic violence. Domestic violence includes behaviors that physically harm, arouse fear, prevent a partner from doing what they wish or force them to behave in ways they do not want. It includes the use of physical and sexual violence, threats and intimidation, emotional abuse and economic deprivation. Many of these different forms of domestic violence and abuse can be occurring at any one time within the same intimate relationship.

 According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence in the United States, an average of 20 people are physically abused by intimate partners every minute. This equates to more than 10 million abuse victims annually. When looking at the rate of abuse the numbers are staggering. The World Health Organization reports that children and adults with disabilities are at much higher risk of violence than their non-disabled peers, according to two systematic reviews recently published in the Lancet.

A 2012 review found that children with disabilities are almost four times more likely to experience violence than non-disabled children. The review also indicated that children with disabilities are 3.7 times more likely than non-disabled children to be victims of any sort of violence, 3.6 times more likely to be victims of physical violence, and 2.9 times more likely to be victims of sexual violence.

Children with mental or intellectual impairments appear to be among the most vulnerable, with 4.6 times the risk of sexual violence than their non-disabled peers. The systematic review on violence against adults with disabilities, published in February 2012, found that overall they are 1.5 times more likely to be a victim of violence than those without a disability, while those with mental health conditions are at nearly four times the risk of experiencing violence.

“The results of these reviews prove that people with disabilities are disproportionately vulnerable to violence, and their needs have been neglected for far too long,” notes Dr. Etienne Krug, Director of WHO’s Department of Violence and Injury Prevention and Disability. “We know that specific strategies exist to prevent violence and mitigate its consequences. We now need to determine if these also work for children and adults with disabilities. An agenda needs to be set for action."

Some of the factors that contribute to the higher risk of violence are stigma, discrimination, and ignorance about disability, as well as a lack of social support for those who care for them. Placement of people with disabilities in institutions also increases their vulnerability to violence. In these settings and elsewhere, people with communication impairments are hampered in their ability to disclose abusive experiences.

If you are a victim of domestic violence don’t hesitate to call 911 and you also seek help with the Nation Domestic Abuse Hotline. 1-800-799-7233.

To learn more look at these links:

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

STAC Report for October

ADA Compliance Officer and MATAplus

By Allison Donald
Allison Donald
Anthony Amos the new ADA compliance officer for MATA attended the October Specialized Transportation Advisory Committee (STAC) meeting.  Mr. Amos is responsible for making sure that MATAplus is compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).  Mr. Amos has a background in advocacy. He was previously employed by Disability Rights of Tennessee.   After meeting with Mr. Amos as a committee we have a wait and see approach in regards to whether he can deliver on his promises of more transparency and collaboration with the disability community, as well as improved customer service.

Mr. Amos and Ms. Tia Horton will oversee the approval process as well as re-certification.  The STAC has been waiting for the finished re-certification application. The application is scheduled for review and approval by Mr. Amos by the middle of next week.  Mr. Amos must address the drawn out application process and customer service. In particular the interaction between office staff and riders is still a problem which effects the efficient delivery of service.

Mr. Amos acknowledged that for many years now that MATAplus had been operating without a structure that would assist employees in dealing with customer service issues.  Both Mr. Amos and STAC agree that there should be more of a partnership between the disability community and MATAplus. 

Mr. Amos hopes to use resources like the Memphis Center for Independent Living to develop a curriculum that will address interaction between staff and riders.  During the meeting Mr. Amos suggested semi-annual meetings to discuss possible changes to improve service. 

STAC wants MATAplus to be a viable transportation option for people with disabilities in Memphis. The only way that can be accomplished if everyone has a vested interests in the success of the service.  What Mr. Amos’ impact will be on the present and future operations of paratransit in this city and how we as a community will be affected remains to be seen.

The next STAC meeting will be on November 3, 2017 at 2:00pm at the Memphis Center for Independent Living.

Monday, October 9, 2017

POP discusses Five Wishes

By Christina Clift
On Friday, October 6, 2017 members of MCIL’s Peer Outreach Program (POP) met for our monthly training.  This month’s topic was not cheerful or one that is often easy to have with friends and family, but one that everyone should have before it’s too late.  The topic discussed was what would be your “Five Wishes” in case you are no longer in a position to make them for yourself.  The Five Wishes document was created by Aging With Dignity and can be purchased or downloaded by visiting 

It provides you a step by step outline on expressing your wishes.  If you haven’t had a talk about your final wishes, this can provide you with a tool to help the discussion along.  It is available in a variety of formats including print, large print, braille, and a downloadable file, as well as in several languages.

Here are some of the things you ought to consider when planning for the time when you aren’t able to speak for yourself. 
1.   Who do I want making healthcare or financial decisions for me? This can be a friend of family member and can be one or two people splitting the responsibility.  It should not be a home healthcare worker or provider agency. 

2.   What steps do I want my doctor or other medical professionals to take in order to keep me alive?  This simply means do you want to be given CPR if you stop breathing, how much medication do you wish to be given in order to relieve pain, do you want to be feed through a feeding tube, or do you want to be hooked up to oxygen.

3.   How comfortable do you want to be?  This means how much pain you want to have to endure and what steps do you want your doctor to take to alleviate it.

4.   How do you want to be treated with dignity?  Another way to think about this question is how you want to be taken care of by others.  Would you like to receive care at home, in a hospital, or a nursing facility?  Would you like to be bathed every day, massaged with warm oils every day, do you still want to wear make-up, what types of music would you like to listen to, and who you’d like to be able to see you. 

5.   What do you want done with your body once you die?  Do you want your body donated to science, do you wish to be buried, or do you wish to be cremated?  You can also plan out your funeral or memorial ceremony by picking out the songs sang, what types of flowers, what religious scripture you’d like read, and who you’d like to speak.

The motto of many disability rights organizations including MCIL is “nothing about us, without us.”  Five Wishes offers you that opportunity to speak up when you no longer can.  It provides you a legal document to put those wishes in that your doctor and family must respect.  You should provide the person making decisions for you a copy of your Five Wishes document, as well as to your lawyer. 

Finally, put it in a place where you or your friends can easily find it when it comes time for them to use it.