Sexual abuse can be seen as unwanted sexual activity. It can be touching or showing body parts.  Abuse can be done by using force, bribes, stalking and threats. 

 People with disabilities (PwD) face many challenges and have very different needs. Some disabilities may put people at more risk for crimes like sexual assault or abuse. PwD may not be taken seriously when they make a report of sexual assault or abuse. They may not know how to report abuse. They may be scared to report what happened to them. They may fear what will happen to them after telling someone else. 

People with intellectual or developmental disabilities (IDD) experience sexual assault at up to 7 times higher than people without disabilities. They are less likely to receive services that help stop violence. They get less support healing from pain and trauma. Research shows only 13% of PwD survivors with disabilities receive victim services.

People with intellectual or developmental disabilities (IDD) may not understand or lack information about healthy sexuality. They may not have had sex ed classes. They may not know the kinds of touching that are good or bad (appropriate or inappropriate). This can be very hard. A person’s disability may require other people to touch them to provide care. Someone who has IDD may not be able to agree to sexual activity. Many people with IDD are survivors of sexual abuse. 

INDEX has a new fact sheet on Sexual Assault and Prevention Resources for People with Disabilities.  We have info for people in Massachusetts and national resources. 

Some areas are:

  • Ways to report sexual abuse
  • Rape Crisis Centers info
  • Domestic violence programs
  • Hotlines

Massachusetts Disabled Persons Protection Commission (DPPC) Hotline: 800-426-9009

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