Trends in Sexual Assault Prevention & Response

We are hard at work in this first year of our project. We’re already learning so much about this important topic. We want to share some of our early findings with you.

Prevention Focuses on Sexuality Education

Sexuality Education is used most often to prevent sexual assault of people with IDD. These programs might focus on healthy sexuality, understanding boundaries, and learning how to keep our bodies safe. These programs are important and can be very helpful. But they don’t focus on the perpetrators–the people doing the assaults. And often, people shy away from sexuality issues. This puts people with IDD more at risk.

Group Housing Is a Big Risk Factor

Group housing can include anything from a state supported living center (SSLC) to an informal home where roommates share space. Sexual assault happens at higher rates in group housing. But assaults are less likely to be reported. When they are reported, staff are less likely to involve police. This often leads to a cycle that keeps the perpetrators safe and continuing to commit assaults/abuse.

Adjudication and Survivor Support Get Little Attention

Most studies, programs, and resources focus on prevention and reporting. Yet, adjudication (making sure perpetrators are tried and convicted) is very important too. Abusers who do not receive consequences usually continue to assault/abuse.

Also, little is being done to support sexual assault survivors with IDD. We know that healing trauma is difficult but critical. More needs to be done to provide survivors with a clear recovery plan and the resources to make it happen.

We are excited to be able to bring light to this dark topic. We will publish our complete gap analysis framework in May of 2021. We will then begin working on resources to help fill those gaps.

Comment below to let us know what you think is most important in supporting people with IDD!

First Peer Support Specialists Trained!

Our first group of peer support specialists was trained last month. Self-advocates from ARC Beaumont had four days of training over Zoom, including courses on:

– Talking and listening

– Being a strong self-advocate

– Helping others through peer support

These amazing self-advocates learned valuable skills like active listening, keeping conversations going, problem solving, and handling conflict. Courses were presented on Zoom using content we created in Moodle, an online learning tool.

Peer support specialists will now start providing services to clients. They will meet with clients matched to them several times a month. They will help clients:

– Explore their needs, wants, hopes and dreams.

– Set goals and make plans to reach them.

– Make decisions and solve problems as they work toward their goals.

– Find needed services to help reach their goals.

Participants were surveyed to see how they felt about the training. All parts of the training received high marks. Peer Support specialists especially liked learning how to believe in yourself and learning how to do the job of a peer support specialist. Contact us for more information about our program.

Free Tech Videos!

The team at self-advocate central has posted free videos on using Google apps and Zoom. The videos are short, simple, and easy to follow. They include lessons on:

  • How to set up a Google account;
  • How to use Gmail;
  • How to use Google Calendar;
  • How to use Zoom; and
  • How to use Google Forms.

The videos can be viewed for free on YouTube or Vimeo.

The videos were created for the Peer Supports Specialist project, but can be used by anyone who wants to learn to use technology. Feel free to share the links above!