Protecting Children with Disabilities from Sexual Assault - A Parent’s Guide

Protecting Children with Disabilities from Sexual Assault - A Parent's Guide

Written by
Marcie Davis and Scott J. Modell, Ph.D.
Published by
New Mexico Coalition of Sexual Assault Programs Inc.

Individuals with disabilities experience victimization of violent crimes at greater rates than those without disabilities. Sorensen (2002) reported that major crimes against people with disabilities are underreported when compared to the general population and estimated that individuals with disabilities are over four times more likely to be victims of crime than are people without disabilities. The risk of being a victim of crime, especially a victim of sexual assault, is 4 to 10 times higher for someone with a disability. Research studies (Powers, 2004; Nosek, 2001; Sobsey, 1994; Petersilia, 1998; Waxman, 1991) consistently report that there is a very high rate of sexual violence against people with physical and cognitive disabilities, as well as, those with significant speech/communication disabilities.


Furthermore, the risk of sexual violence appears to increase with the degree of disability (Sobsey & Varnhagen, 1988). Compounding the physical and mental trauma of violence, crime victims with disabilities are less likely to seek medical attention and report the victimization to law enforcement due to limited access to the criminal justice system.

 

Read the full document - click on the attached file.