For People with Disabilities
People with disabilities are at an increased risk for sexual violence. It is estimated that between 39-68% of female youth and 16-30% of male youth with a disability will experience sexual violence before the age of 18, compared to 25% of female youth and 17% of male youth without disabilities (Martinello, 2014a).
People with intellectual or developmental disabilities are at a particularly high risk of experiencing sexual violence. If a person with an intellectual or developmental disability does report the violence, they are often dismissed or accused of lying. Furthermore, one survey found that over 50% of people with an intellectual disability were unaware that there are laws to protect them against sexual violence (Martinello, 2014b).
The risk of experiencing sexual violence increases with the amount of day-to-day care a person with disabilities requires. A caregiver may have the power to withhold needed medical and hygienic care, the means of communication, or transportation. This situation creates a stark power imbalance that increases the likelihood of sexual violence, and can keep people with disabilities afraid or unable to report (Martinello, 2014a).
People with disabilities also face social barriers that make it harder for them to report incidents of sexual violence that go beyond physical inaccessibility. Society at large does not treat people with disabilities as full members of the community, so they are often socially isolated and economically vulnerable. This creates a situation where many people may feel that they have no other option than to tolerate the abuse.
The Sex Abuse Treatment Center offers respectful and supportive care to all survivors.
Our staff is trained to accommodate people with different abilities, and our office and hospital facilities are fully ADA compliant. Our services also include American Sign Language interpreters for members of the deaf and hard of hearing community. To learn more about our web chat services, click here.
In addition, we collaborate with others in the community to offer the best available services, including but not limited to, case workers, behavioral specialists, and skills trainers.
- Martinello, E. (2014a). Reviewing strategies for risk reduction of sexual abuse of children with intellectual disabilities: A focus on early intervention. Sexuality and Disability, 32(2), 167-174. doi:10.1007/s11195-014-9345-9
- Martinello, E. (2014b). Reviewing risk factors of individuals with intellectual disabilities as perpetrators of sexually abusive behaviors. Sexuality and Disability, 33(2), 269-278. doi:10.1007/s11195-014-9365-5