90 Minute Workshop

Exploring the Intersection of Domestic Violence, Disability and Trauma

Monday, March 26
10:30 AM - 12:00 PM
Location: Salon 10

Barrier Free Living’s mission is to support individuals with disabilities to live dignified lives free of all forms of abuse and bias. In 2006, BFL opened the doors to Freedom House the first totally accessible crisis domestic violence shelter in the country.  According to the American Psychological Association, “Women with disabilities have a 40 percent greater chance of intimate partner violence than women without disabilities”


We will begin with understanding how a person with a disability is affected by domestic violence including physical, emotional, financial, medical, sexual, and social violence.  Next, we will discuss how the trauma of abuse affects a person’s decision around leaving the abusive relationship.  Participates will discuss why people stay in the abusive relationship.  Including how inaccessible service providers add to the trauma and barriers faced when a person with a disability is trying to access a domestic violence program.


Lastly, we cover strategies to overcome barriers including understanding the Americans with Disabilities Act and educating service providers about what it means to be accessible.  


Various disability perspectives will be considered including but not limited to mental health, D/deaf/hard of hearing, visually impaired, and medical conditions. 

Learning Objectives:

Cynthia Amodeo

Chief Program Officer
Barrier Free Living
New York, New York

Cynthia Amodeo is a licensed mental health counselor who graduated Teachers College, Columbia University with her Master of Education and Master of Arts in Counseling Psychology in 2006. Cynthia specializes in trauma with a particular focus on domestic violence and disabilities. Cynthia has been working at Barrier Free Living since 2008 where she started as the children's counselor at the domestic violence shelter and is now the Chief Program Officer for the agency. Prior to Freedom House she worked with children and families impacted by the World Trade Center attack, children infected with HIV and affected by HIV/AIDS.

Presentation(s):

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Sara Eldridge

Senior Social Worker
Barrier Free Living
New York, New York

Sara Eldridge, LMSW, is the senior social worker at Barrier Free Living's Freedom House domestic violence shelter. She received her Master’s Degree in Social Work from Silberman School of Social Work at Hunter College in 2015. Ms. Eldridge specializes in trauma, with a focus on domestic violence and sexual assault. Ms. Eldridge has been employed at Freedom House since 2015, where she provides counseling to adults, children and adolescents. Prior to Freedom House she worked with youth in alternatives to detention and incarceration programs, student veterans, rape survivors and crime victims.

Presentation(s):

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