Sojourner House, Tri-County Community Action receive $499K to expand abuse victim services

PROVIDENCE – Local domestic violence support nonprofit Sojourner House announced Tuesday that it has received a three-year, $499,999 grant from the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of Violence Against Women to help improve and expand services for deaf and hard of hearing individuals who are domestic and sexual assault victims.

The grant, Sojourner House said, is in collaboration with Johnston-based nonprofit Tri-County Community Action Agency. The organizations say they will first perform a needs assessment to understand what the deaf and hard of hearing community requires. Then, Sojourner House and Tri-County will establish and lead a multidisciplinary collaboration to ensure that safe and effective services are available, the organizations said.

Sojourner House Executive Director Vanessa Volz said in a statement Tuesday about 87,000 Rhode Islanders are deaf or hearing impaired, but this population an abuse rate that is 1.5 times higher than the hearing population. She said the organization is “thrilled” to have the chance to develop services that are “culturally and linguistically appropriate and ensure equal access to victim services and other supports.”

“This funding and partnership will provide the necessary skills and resources to address this challenging area of victim services and greatly improve criminal justice outcomes and victim safety and satisfaction.” Joe DeSantis, Tri-County’s CEO and president, said in a statement.

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James Bessette is the PBN special projects editor, and also covers the nonprofit and education sectors. You may reach him at You may also follow him on Twitter at @James_Bessette.