Author: Dr. Dorothy Griffiths, Director of Behavior Management York Central Hospital, Richmond Hill, Ontario
The sexual assault of persons with disabilities is at a high rate and is considered a complex issue. In addition to the variables that relate to abuse in general, there are further complicating factors regarding the abuse of persons with developmental disabilities. Such complications tend to make this a hidden and silent crime. Perpetrators seek victims who are accessible and less likely to be able to report or press effective charges against the crime. Persons with developmental disabilities are often reliant on others for basic care and physical needs. As such, they are less able or likely to object to, defend against or report an offense. Moreover, perpetrators of sexual assault engage in cognitive distortions to justify their behavior.