Sexual Abuse Awareness and Prevention for People with Disabilities

April 12, 2021
by DD Council Staff

Sexual Assault Awareness Month, observed each April, is a campaign that aims to increase awareness about the causes and risk factors for sexual assault and empower individuals to take steps to prevent it in their communities. According to a report published in 2015 from Disability Rights Ohio (DRO), “Sexual assault against individuals with developmental disabilities is far more common than most Ohioans imagine. While local news stories occasionally report incidents of sexual abuse or the prosecution of abusers, these stories are treated as singular events, not evidence of a systemic problem. In reality, research points to a strikingly high prevalence of sexual assaults of individuals with developmental disabilities in Ohio and nationwide.” DRO provided recommendations to the state for ways to help close the gaps in Ohio’s criminal justice system, providing a safer environment for all individuals with developmental disabilities, yet awareness is still the key to continuing the conversation and advocating for change to protect people with developmental disabilities from sexual assault.

In an effort to prevent sexual assault and other forms of abuse for people with disabilities, the Missouri Developmental Disabilities Council (MODDC) partnered with other organizations to develop the Abuse Awareness and Prevention Guide. The guide is designed to help people with disabilities and others understand and identify sexual assault and other forms of abuse. The guide provides both tools to help people prevent various forms of abuse and resources for survivors of abuse. Also, a video version of the guide is available.  

While the guide was developed with people with disabilities and their supporters in mind, it is important to be aware of this issue so that everyone is involved in prevention and identification of abuse. You can find the guide and videos, along with more information at

Abuse Awareness Cycle

Read more details about the graphic below in MODDC's Abuse and Awareness Prevention Guide.  

Abuse Awareness Cycle graphic

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