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Serving Victims With Disabilities

The statistics regarding sexual assault against people with disabilities are alarming. For example—

  • Up to 83 percent of women with developmental disabilities and 32 percent of men have been victims of sexual assault.53
  • Males with disabilities are twice as likely as males without disabilities to be sexually abused in their lifetime.54 

Unfortunately, with the high statistical rate of sexual assault for individuals with disabilities, SARTs may not have the resources they need to respond effectively to victims' physical, sensory, and mental needs. To help bolster outreach, this section provides materials and links to assist you in developing expanded alliances, evaluating agency accessibility, and promoting culturally relevant responses for individuals with disabilities.

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People-First Language

When we make disabilities the most important thing about victims, we devalue and disrespect them. When referring to victims with disabilities, use people-first language (e.g., "she is a woman with a visual disability" rather than "she is a blind woman"). People-first language puts the person before the disability and uses respectful language that describes what a person has, not who a person is.

Source: Kathy Snow, People-First Language, 2010.