SEXUAL ASSAULT AWARENESS MONTH: Supporting Survivors with Disabilities

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As we recognize Sexual Assault Awareness month, we also recognize that sexual violence within the disability community continues to be a “hidden epidemic.” The research makes it clear:83% of women with disabilities will be sexually assaulted in their lives.50% of girls who are deaf have been sexually abused compared to 25% of girls who are hearing; 54% of boys who are deaf have been sexually abused in comparison to 10% of boys who are hearing.Approximately 80% of women and 30% of men with developmental disabilities have been sexually assaulted – half of these women have been assaulted more than 10 times.Just 3% of sexual abuse cases involving people with developmental disabilities are ever reported.Women with a disability are far more likely to have a history of undesired sex with an intimate partner – 19.7% vs. 8.2%.Rape crisis centers have long been a vital resource for survivors of sexual assault. Advocates support survivors throughout their healing journey with counseling, support groups, and guidance on navigating complex systems. But advocates and rape crisis centers are not reaching survivors with disabilities who, based on the statistics, represent a core constituency of the people they should be serving. You can change this by taking a few initial but important steps:Assess your readiness to serve survivors with disabilities by completing our online performance indicators. Once you have your result, contact us to schedule a time to review your performance and make a plan for making changes.Encourage your staff to participate in trainings and webinars related to serving survivors with disabilities to build their comfort and confidence around this issue.Build relationships with people with disabilities in your local community, as well as organizations that serve people with disabilities. Strong relationships build trust and lead to better understanding of how your program can better meet the needs of survivors with disabilities.
Forging New Collaborations: A Guide for Rape Crisis,
Domestic Violence, and Disability Organizations
Sexual Abuse of Children with Disabilities: A National Snapshot
Sexual Victimization of Men with Disabilities: A National Snapshot
Removing Barriers Following Sexual Assault: Sexual Assault Forensic Exams for Survivors with Disabilities
Supporting Crime Victims with Disabilities Toolkit
Peer to Peer: Bridging the Gap Through Self-Advocacy — Sexual Assault Info for Self-Advocates
Measuring Capacity to Serve Survivors with Disabilities
Online Assessment Tool for Rape Crisis Centers
Making PREA and Victim Services Accessible for Incarcerated People

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