The NYS Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence (OPDV) and the Developmental Disabilities Planning Council (DDPC) are working on a collaborative project.  Entitled, “Creating Purposeful Connections: Building Capacity for Gender-Based Violence Survivors with Developmental Disabilities”, the goal is to  “increase services for people with disabilities who have experienced violence.” A training program is being created and feedback is imperative to its completion.

     Kelly Weiss, Project Coordinator/DDPC Project, New York State Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence, attended United People’s Self Advocacy meetings this summer to explain the project and receive feedback in a “learning exchange.” 

      The first advocacy group in NYS to participate was Wildwood’s United People’s Self Advocacy group.  Ms. Weiss facilitated a focused question and answer session regarding domestic violence and the developmental disabilities population. The group had so much to offer, she came back for a second meeting.

     Michelle Summers, Advocacy Specialist and Advocate felt both sessions with Ms.Weiss were meaningful. She stated, “ I felt confident speaking up and that the questions I suggested for the training would be used to help others in the disability community.”  Ms. Weiss listened to what we had to say and took notes.  She reassured us that she would use our ideas in her project. The group’s feedback will help the NYS Office of Domestic Violence to come up with ideas and techniques which are best suited to help our community.

     It is imperative advocates continue to have their opinion and expertise solicited in matters that directly affect them, as they did with this project. Opportunities to provide input on personal, agency, community and statewide matters is necessary and has a direct correlation to improved services. 

     Ms. Weiss encourages anyone who has been injured and/or has any questions may reach her office at:

     New York State Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence

     p. 1-800-942-6906

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