DeafKidz’ Work Praised by Penny Mordaunt – Secretary of State for International Development

13th May 2018

Photograph of Penny Mordaunt“I Praise the Work of DeafKidz International” — Secretary of State for International Development, Penny Mordaunt
House of Commons – 18th April 2018

We’re delighted that the long and often frustrating journey to ensure the protection and safeguarding needs of D/deaf children is gaining recognition by DFID and other key humanitarian, development and global health decision makers. We applaud the support of the Secretary of State and are delighted that DFID is recognising the value of our work in addressing the challenge of Gender Based Violence in Jamaica, South Africa, Zimbabwe and Pakistan. Piloted in Jamaica, our DeafGirlz Shall! campaign is aimed at ensuring that at least 120,000 D/deaf girls and young women are able to reduce their risk and vulnerability to Gender Based Violence.

We’re doing this, quite simply, by training young D/deaf women as coaches and role models who will promote, enthuse and inspire D/deaf girls to say ‘No!’ to abuse… Our evidence suggests one in four D/deaf girls experiences sexual violence… That’s one in four too many and we’re resolved to addressing this outrage. Gender Based Violence undermines the health, dignity and security of its victims yet it is shrouded in silence. No one will talk and in the D/deaf community, a paralysis sets in… No one quite knows what to do. We’re working to address this inertia and to respond to the sexual and reproductive health consequences that occur including forced and unplanned pregnancies, traumatic fistula, sexually transmitted infections, including HIV and even death.

Through our DeafGirlz Shall! campaign we’re working to provide victim and survivor support… That clinical, social, welfare and criminal justice responses are both integrated and D/deaf aware… A particular focus being the training of Sign Language Interpreters in the terminology, language and semantics of abuse, so that vital communication support can be afforded at a time where clear, accurate and appropriate translation is most needed.

In partnership with DFID, we shall continue our efforts to ensure that the hard to reach population of D/deaf children and young people are able to reduce their risk and vulnerability to abuse. With DFID and through the UK Aid Direct initiative, we will absolutely ensure no D/deaf child is left behind.

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