- >90% of people with developmental disabilities will experience sexual abuse at some point in their lives
- 49% will experience 10 or more abusive incidents
- 36-68% of girls and 16-30% of boys will be sexually abused before their 18th birday
- 15,000-19,000 people with developmental disabilities are raped each year in the United States
- 97-99% of abusers are known and trusted by the victim
- 32% of abusers were family members or acquaintances
- 44% had a relationship with the victim specifically related to the person's disaiblity (such as residential care staff, transportation providers and personal care attendants)
- Abusers typically abuse as many as 70 people before ever getting caught
There are a variety of lessons from these statistics, not the least of which is that people who are facilitating disability ministry must be cognizant of interactions between persons with developmental/intellectual disabilities and the general public. We should be aware of situations at the church and other community settings as well as having a presence in the group homes and living situations of persons with disabilities. The article also lists physical signs, behavioral signs and circumstantial signs that people may look for. The article is concluded with the statement, "You do not need proof to file a report."
The church has a protective function to serve in the lives of persons with severe disabilities, however, we can only serve that function if we are involved in the lives of persons with severe disabilities. We need to be aware of the signs of abuse and not be afraid to ask questions of individuals with disabilities and their care providers should we have a concern. Ultimately we can report to the police if we believe something untoward is occuring in the life of a person with a severe disability.