People with intellectual disabilities and developmental disabilities (IDD) are sexually assaulted at seven times the rate of people without disabilities. Health care professionals are in a frontline position to educate their patients about, and potentially stop or prevent, sexual violence and abuse—but they often have little or no experience talking about this issue with people who have IDD. Also, people with IDD are unlikely to raise the topic on their own. They may not know what constitutes sexual violence or how to describe it.
Now in its third year, the Talk About Sexual Violence project will build on its success by not only preparing health care professionals to have much-needed conversations about sexual violence with people with IDD, but to know how to use a supported decision-making lens that supports victim-centered approaches. By empowering survivors with disabilities in the reporting process, health care professionals can more effectively identify victims, connect them to appropriate healing services, and build their self-advocacy skills, ultimately leading to increased prevention of potential sexual violence in the future.
The Talk about Sexual Violence project is made possible by a grant from the WITH Foundation and in partnership with the Board Resource Center.