New project will research Deaf Canadians in the justice system

News & Events
May 4, 2017

Good news! The Canadian Association of the Deaf – Association des Sourds du Canada has received funding from the federal Department of Justice for a new project!

A team of expert researchers, all well-known within the Deaf community, will explore the experiences of Deaf Canadians with the justice system, including police, courts, and prisons. We will gather stories from those who have been victims of a crime or have been accused and convicted of a crime.

The team is led by Dr. Debra Russell, renown interpreter; Dr. Cathy Chovaz, Deaf psychologist; and Dr. Patrick Boudreault, famed for his work on LSQ and Deaf linguistics.

What is the Project?

Canadian Association of the Deaf- Association des Sourds du Canada (CAD-ASC) has received funding from the Federal Department of Justice. The goal of our project is to gather information from D/deaf, deaf-blind, and deaf people who have additional disabilities, about their experiences with the justice system. The words “the justice system” include contact with the police, lawyers, courts, prisons, halfway houses, and/or parole officers.

Why this project?

Many Deaf people have had to access services like the police, courts, and lawyers as a victims of a crime, or as persons accused and/or convicted of crimes. We want to gather your stories and experiences so that we can identify the problems with the current system, and to develop strategies that can make the judicial system more accessible.

Who is doing the research project?

CAD-ASC has contracted Dr. Cathy Chovaz (Deaf), Dr. Patrick Boudreault (Deaf) and Dr. Debra Russell (Hearing). This team of experienced and trusted researchers will help CAD-ASC to build a picture of the needs of the Canadian Deaf community.

Who can participate this project?

We are looking for individuals who want to participate as part of a focus group or in one-to-one interviews. We are surveying two groups: individuals who work in the judicial system, and members of the Deaf community. We hope you will participate.

Is the information confidential?

Yes, all of your information will be gathered anonymously. We will not use your names or disclose who participated.

If you are interested in knowing more about this project, visit: or please contact our project coordinator: Debra Russell at:

Watch for more information as this project gets underway!