COVID-19 Outreach Project

COVID-19 Outreach Project

Funded by Disability Outreach Program (COVID-19), Department of Families, Fairness and Housing.

Project Background:

Deaf and hard of hearing Victorians experienced numerous barriers during the COVID-19 pandemic such as: 

  1. Working from home: loss of incidental face to face discussions; small group meetings; larger departmental or other office-like interactions has caused hardship for deaf and hard of hearing people who have had to explore technology solutions in an attempt to obtain equal access.
  2. Unemployment: increased barriers to obtaining employment due to oversupply of unemployed people in relation to available jobs; information about income support measures for individuals and business owners is not translated into Auslan. 
  3. Wearing of masks: wearing of masks restricts the engagement and interaction of deaf and hard of hearing people in accessing goods and services, including health, education, and training settings. There is fear, misinformation, and unwillingness by both deaf and hearing people to removing masks for essential communication. 
  4. Increased supports needed to assist deaf and hard of hearing people with mental health issues and experiencing family violence: anecdotal evidence suggests that the frustration and anger caused through lack of social connection, communication challenges is causing breakdown within the family home. Family violence and mental health practitioners do not have practical strategies to manage these situations. 

Project Overview:

The COVID-19 Information and Outreach Service will support Deaf and hard of hearing Victorians during recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.  

Deaf and hard of hearing people are represented across all diverse and hard to reach groups including LGBTQIA+, Indigenous, senior citizens, regional/remote and socioeconomic cohorts.  

Project Aims:

  1. Provide a localised deaf peer support and information service, including provision of digital education and support to assist deaf and hard of hearing people to respond, recover and adapt to COVID-19. 
  2. Design, develop and promote an online cultural competency education program to enable individuals, businesses, and employers to respond, recover and adapt by ensuring establishment of deaf inclusive practices. 

Project Partners:

Project Advisory Group:

Maxine Buxton, Deaf Victoria (Chair) 
Sherrie Beaver, Deaf Victoria (Project and Research Coordinator) 
Stef Linder, Expression Australia 
Caitlin Barr, Soundfair 
Carmel Phillips, John Pierce Centre 
Elise Stewart, Deaf Hub Bendigo 

Project Deliverable:

Through our COVID-19 Outreach Project funded by the Department of Families, Fairness and Housing (DFFH), Deaf Victoria and Expression Australia are working together to find out how to better inform the Deaf Community about COVID-19 issues and news. Through this process, we are gathering your feedback on these videos. If you would like to share your thoughts, please email (either in Auslan or English) to OR complete a short survey here at: 

1. Is the information in the video useful? Why/why not? 

2. Do you think we could have done anything better in this video? 

3. What other COVID-19 topics would you like to see explained in Auslan?

Video 1: Why should you get vaccinated? 

Please note, in this video, there are two examples of COVID-19 vaccination information (with and without pictures) to find out the community’s preference.

Video 2: Pfizer and AstraZeneca vaccines

Video 3: How to book COVID-19 vaccinations

Video 4: How are vaccines approved and who approves them?