In the spring of 2000, a group of Deaf Women from Columbus was concerned about the safety of women and their children exposed to violence. An opportunity came along when Abused Deaf Women Advocacy Services (ADWAS), located in Seattle, Washington, received a federal grant provided by the U.S. Department of Justice to provide a series of training on domestic violence and sexual assault experienced by Deaf Women and their children.
After attending the training in Seattle, Washington, the group of Deaf Women returned to Columbus and formed a working committee that eventually became DWAVE’s Board. The Board developed bylaws and secured non-profit status by February 2002.
By 2003, DWAVE developed a working partnership with Sexual Assault Response Network of Central Ohio (SARNCO) recruiting Deaf volunteers to become Hospital Advocates. After attending SARNCO’s 40-hour hospital advocate training, DWAVE’s volunteers began to work in hospital settings.
In 2006, DWAVE received its’ first grant money from the Columbus Fountain. The grant allowed DWAVE to hire several community presenters to educate the Deaf, Hard of Hearing, and DeafBlind Communities about domestic and sexual violence.
From 2009 to 2010, Ohio Department of Health and Department of Justice granted DWAVE funds to hire full time staff members. DWAVE was thrilled to hire a program director, prevention coordinator and an office assistant/interpreter.
As of year 2017, DWAVE grew and currently employs four full time staff members that are actively involved in providing prevention and intervention of crime and trauma in the Deaf and Hearing Communities.