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Living Well – A Guide for Men – Auslan Videos

In partnership with Deaf Services Queensland, we have created 34 Auslan videos specifically to support members of the deaf and hard of hearing communities who have been sexually abused in childhood. Click on the thumbnail to watch the first video in this series. The video will open in this window.


What is sexual abuse?

Watch the videos

Watch the whole series of 34 Auslan videos on the following pages:

About the Auslan videos

CEO for Deaf Services Queensland Brett Casey states:

Deaf Services Queensland is privileged to work with Living Well to develop these resources for the Australian deaf community. Anecdotally, we are aware of a number of community members affected who require counselling and support. Currently the services and information available in Auslan are nearly non-existent. We hope these resources provide a good start to what will be a long and emotional road to recovery and by no means are the end of our work in the area. There is much to do to ensure deaf people are supported throughout their journey. We hope to work closer with the Royal Commission and partner with other organisations to develop a range of supports to assist our community not only to recover, but also to tell their story to the Commission itself.

Manager of Living Well Dr Gary Foster states:

We know that sexual abuse can have a profound impact on people’s lives and relationships. We also know that lack of access to appropriate information and support can further compound difficulties. Living Well therefore welcomes the opportunity to partner with Deaf Services Queensland in developing resources to start to reach out and better support the deaf and hard of hearing communities.

Living Well and Deaf Services Queensland understand that there are a number of Deaf individuals in Australia who have experienced sexual abuse within an institutional context, however access to services are often limited due to language barriers.

This collaborative project between Living Well and Deaf Services Queensland aims to start the development of resources which help increase access to this group, which has a much higher rate of abuse than the hearing population.

The extent of the problem of sexual abuse is often hard to quantify given the lack of reporting in the area, however in international studies, 50% of deaf adults reported being sexually abused as children; deaf females are twice as likely as hearing peers to be sexually abused and deaf males three times more likely (Sullivan, Vernon and Scanlan 1987; Kvam 2004; Obinna et al 2006). Kvam (2004) noted the extensive nature of the sexual assaults on deaf children, that “few cases were reported to parents, teachers, or authorities” and that “special schools for the deaf represent an extra risk of abuse, regardless of whether the deaf pupils live at home or in boarding schools.”

Development of these Auslan resources are timely given the increased media awareness and attention on the problem of childhood sexual abuse in institutional settings, setting where members of the deaf and hard of hearing communities were sexually abused. See Mea Maxima Culpa: Silence in the House of God.

Mea Maxima Culpa: Silence in the House of God chronicles the testimony of four deaf men who set out to expose the priest who sexually abused them at a school for the deaf during the mid-1960s. The men brought forth the first known case of public protest against clerical sex abuse, which later lead to the sex scandal case known as the Lawrence Murphy Case. The film is directed by Oscar-winning director Alex Gibney. In 2005, the Researching Sexual Violence Project placed an emphasis on better “Understanding the Needs of the Victims of Sexual Assault in the Deaf Community” [Read the PDF] by developing resources and community responses that acknowledge and address the particular difficulties that can confront members of deaf communities.

Deaf individuals who are sexual assault survivors face multiple barriers and stereotypes due to their status as a Deaf individual, as a sexual assault victim, and also due to the male or female gender stereotypes associated with their status as a sexual assault survivor. As with other disability groups, the Deaf community experiences significant barriers in communication with the general hearing population and has limited access to media information that hearing people take for granted (Modry, 1994). Traditionally, research on Deaf individuals has incorporated a medical model, which has focused on deficits in function, on hearing loss, instead of recognizing the communities linguistic and cultural minority status (Glickman, 1996).”

Obinna, J., S. Krueger, C. Osterbaan, J.M. Sadusky, and W. DeVore, Understanding the Needs of the Victims of Sexual Assault in the Deaf Community, final report submitted to the National Institute of Justice, Washington, DC: February 2006 (NCJ 212867).

We encourage individuals and groups to make use of the Auslan videos and material available on the Deaf Services Queensland and Living Well websites. View the hard copy version of Living Well: A Guide for Men.

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