Sign language interpreters play an important role in ensuring effective communication – the foundation for trust, relationship, healing, and justice – between Deaf survivors and hearing victim services providers, medical professionals, law enforcement officers, prosecutors, judges, and other court personnel. Yet often, when interpreters are requested and assigned, the respective identities and lived experiences of Deaf survivors is not considered in ways that align with the spirit of or practices of racial justice and disability justice. As a result of these critical mismatches, new and additional barriers are put up that block Deaf survivors healing and justice journeys. To authentically embrace the spirit of language justice and access, it is imperative that organizations create – and put into place – culturally responsive interpreting practices. This session will be presented in American Sign Language (ASL) by Deaf leaders from Activating Change and will focus on providing a brief introduction to Deaf culture and communities, identifying the challenges and barriers Deaf survivors of sexual violence face, explaining the roles of Hearing and Deaf American Sign Language Interpreters, and offering strategies for best practices in supporting Deaf survivors’ healing and justice journeys through culturally responsive interpreting.


DeAnna Swope, Esther Fass

Area of Focus

Disability Advocacy and Inclusion