– Thursday 21st Sept 2023

Putting Deaf People on the Agenda

‘Putting Deaf People on the Agenda,’ is a vital call to action. It reminds us of the importance of acknowledging the perspectives and voices of Deaf people in all aspects of society. From education and employment to policy-making and community initiatives, this theme urges us to ensure that Deaf people are not only heard but actively involved in shaping the decisions that affect their lives. Together, we strive for a world where Deaf individuals are not left out but stand at the forefront of positive change and progress.


Explore the ‘Justisigns‘ project, a pioneering educational and training initiative aimed at enhancing access to support services for gender-based violence cases within the Deaf community. This video provides insights into the project’s goals, impact, and the collaborative efforts to increase awareness and training among multi-agency actors working with Deaf victims. Discover how ‘Justisigns‘ is contributing to a more inclusive and supportive environment for Deaf people.

Lianne Quigley - Research Assistant, Centre for Deaf Studies, Trinity College Dublin, [Deaf - ISL/English]

Transcript: Hello!  Today’s theme is ‘Putting Deaf People on the Agenda’ but what does this mean? It means campaigning to highlight what Deaf people’s lives are like – the impact held in different areas like research, community and crisis management - making sure we are communicating what risks and impacts are held for Deaf lives.

Now, to talk about one example of this, the Justisigns 2 Project. It is a project predominantly focused on Deaf women and children and those from migrant backgrounds, looking at GBV which is Gender-Based Violence, the various forms of oppression and abuse experienced by women. Here in Ireland, we have no, or have very little research into Deaf women’s experiences of GBV or abuse. We are researching where there are gaps, for example, in access to service providers such as doctors, rape crisis centers, An Garda Síochana and we are identifying these gaps in the hope of improving access. 

Within the Deaf community, not all would be familiar with terms like GBV. While in mainstream society there is plenty of information available, the Deaf community is left to lag behind. An example of our work is creating a new word glossary of signs. There are many words that are just finger-spelled and the meaning is left unclear so we created new signs in a glossary of 80 terms, meaning Deaf people can better understand new terminology in various areas and equally, interpreters would be better able to understand when having to sign the terms in different contexts, like conference settings and one-to-one interviews.  

Resource training materials have also been set-up for service providers such as the Gardai, hospitals, nurses, meaning that in the event they are dealing with a Deaf individual they can use these resources as a guide – whether they need to know how to book an interpreter, or just need to have sufficient Deaf awareness, the aim being to improve the standard of access. 

Overall, it was a 3-year period of research. It was a huge undertaking, but it is just a first step and in the future, we will have further in-depth research. It is important that this research begins to have an impact, that relevant organisations and services are made aware of the need for better access for Deaf people all over Ireland.  

The project was extremely helpful in spreading awareness for the Gardai as one example. In response they generated signed content and victim information that was already available in a number of different languages and now also is available in ISL.  

Equally, the Sexual Assault Treatment Unit previously had no accessible information but now has ISL descriptions available which is really important. The project is finished bu the work is ongoing. This is just one example that ties in with the theme for today of how important it is to put Deaf people on the agenda.

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Deaf Career Project

The Deaf Career Project empowers Deaf people in managing their career paths. We aim to provide the necessary guidance and support to Deaf people making informed decisions about their career options. Our project is rooted in learning from past experiences and research, focusing on the unique needs of Deaf people. By doing this, we hope to shape guidance services that fully include and benefit the Deaf community, ultimately ensuring equal opportunities for career success.

David Somers - Advocacy Project Officer / Deaf Career Project Lead

Transcript: International Week for Deaf People.  This week’s theme is ‘Putting Deaf people on the Agenda.’ I would like to talk about the Deaf Career Project and how it is relevant to today’s theme.  

The IDS has been tirelessly campaigning with different bodies to encourage them to support the Deaf community with their career journey and their career choices. Recently, the Deaf Career Project team worked with different bodies – one being the career guidance counsellors, to improve their service and how they provide career guidance to the Deaf community.

The second area that we have worked with is with employers. We have engaged with employers to provide workshops to the Deaf community. The workshops are focused on recruitment, skills and the work environment and so on.  

Both were very successful. The team have written a report and published it – this publocation can be accessed on our website, both in written form and translated into ISL.  

Remember, today’s theme ‘Putting Deaf People on the Agenda’ is important. We have been fighting with different bodies to show them that Deaf people can be involved in the workplace. If you would like more information, you can go to our website where we have information on our recent project and we have videos and stories and so on.  

Happy International Week of Deaf People.

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Irish Deaf Society