During the last 22 years, DeafLEAD has become the central agency for Missouri law enforcement and victim service providers when in need of assistance in working with Deaf, hard of hearing, late-deafened, and DeafBlind victims of crime. L.E.A.D. has also become an advocacy center for Deaf abused women and children to support them through the system of shelters, agencies, law enforcement, and crime victim’s compensation. The support services L.E.A.D. offers benefit not only Deaf victims of crime, but also assists direct service providers in appropriately serving the Deaf individuals in their communities.
Who We Are
DeafLEAD (Leadership through Education & Advocacy for the Deaf) is a non-profit corporation of the state of Missouri. DeafLEAD exists to provide individuals who are Deaf and hard of hearing with comprehensive, unified and continuous support by enhancing socio-emotional development, effective communication and leadership through education within the state of Missouri.
DeafLEAD has been providing statewide services to d/Deaf, DeafBlind, hard of hearing, late-deafened and hearing victims of crime for the last 22 years. Below are descriptions of the varying terms used to identify hearing status. It must be noted these definitions are not set in stone, but are fluid and depend on the individual’s own identity.
deaf – a general term that refers to individuals with any degree of hearing loss.
Deaf – refers to those whose first or preferred language is American Sign Language and identify as a member of the Deaf community and Deaf culture.
hard of hearing – most often refers to those who have a mild, moderate, or severe hearing loss.
late-deafened – refers to those who were born hearing and became deaf later in life after learning to speak
DeafBlind – refers to those who have some degree of vision and hearing loss.
hearing – refers to those who have no degree of hearing loss and use spoken language.
L.E.A.D. is the only organization in the nation to provide statewide direct services to Deaf and hard of hearing victims of crime. L.E.A.D. services have become a national model for other states to replicate for their Deaf victims of crime. In previous years, L.E.A.D. has conducted Deaf victim service trainings in eleven states.
What We Do
DeafLEAD’s target areas include domestic violence and sexual assault services, assistance for deaf and hard of hearing victims of crime and direct support for victim service agencies, shelters, organizations, law enforcement, emergency responders, mental health professionals, advocates, and circuit courts statewide serving Deaf and hard of hearing individuals to ensure they are being served in a culturally and linguistically appropriate way.
DeafLEAD focuses on providing quality direct services to Deaf victims that are readily available for hearing victims. L.E.A.D. also works with the hearing community to educate them about the unique needs of Deaf victims of crime, Deaf culture and American Sign Language and at the same time, provide support in every area related to deafness and Deaf cultural issues.
Some of the specific services we provide include:
24-hour crisis hotline and VP services
24-hour crisis texting services
Free counseling for Deaf victims
Family life education
Case management for victims of crime
Medical and legal advocacy
Information and referral
Service provider trainings
Networking and collaboration
For resources on any of these services, please visit our Resources page.