Investigating Sexual Assault Against People with Disabilities

05/28/2014 - 1:00pm
Sponsoring Agency: 
End Violence Against Women International (EVAW)

Most training on sexual assault of people with disabilities typically focuses on issues such as the following:•Definitions, descriptions, and characteristics of various disabilities•Legal requirements (e.g., compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act)•Physical accessibility issues•Communication guidelines (e.g., language use, communication aids and services)•Etiquette, respect, and empowermentThese are critically important areas, and the primary message of such training is often to "see the person, not the disability." Police officers are taught to approach victims with disabilities and the investigation "like they would in any other case." The hope is that victims who have a disability will be treated with the same respect as other victims, and this is an important goal we all need to support.However, when training for law enforcement focuses solely on respect, police officers are left wondering what they should actually do when they are assigned to investigate a crime against a person with a disability. How do they approach the victim, craft an investigative strategy, and gather and document the relevant evidence? How do they effectively communicate with victims, and ensure they are doing everything they can to protect victims' safety while still respecting their self-autonomy? How do they access and utilize the people, technologies, and resources that might be available to help?This webinar is designed to answer some of these questions.

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