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Grant To Study Sexual Assault Among People With Intellectual, Developmental Disabilities

People with intellectual or developmental disabilities are seven times as likely to be victims of sexual assault, according to an NPR/Justice Department Study. But there isn’t a lot of research about what happens after a person reports a sexual assault. But that is starting to change.

It’s something we don’t like to think about, that some of our most vulnerable citizens are frequently victims of sexual assault. Erica McFadden is the executive director of the Arizona Developmental Disabilities Planning Council. Her organization recently awarded a grant to a group of researchers to find out if existing policies work when it comes to reporting and preventing sexual assault

"But yet we as the public and as people with disabilities don’t really know if it’s addressing the issues that we’re facing," she said. "We don’t have the stories to see if that’s really happening on the ground. So hopefully it will reconcile what’s being stated what happening versus what’s really happening."

McFadden said the final report should be available sometime next summer. 

If you reported an incident of abuse, exploitation or neglect, the Arizona Developmental Disabilities Planning Council wants to hear from you about your experience. Contact Erica McFadden at 602-542-8977 or email  [email protected]. Your stories can ensure current gaps are addressed and strengths in the system of reporting and prevention are recognized.

KJZZ senior field correspondent Kathy Ritchie has 20 years of experience reporting and writing stories for national and local media outlets — nearly a decade of it has been spent in public media.