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This just in from Sen. Fran Pavley's office

Pavley will introduce measure to help protect developmentally disabled victims of sex crimes

Posted: December 19, 2012 10:21 a.m.
Updated: December 19, 2012 10:21 a.m.

SACRAMENTOToday,Senator Fran Pavley announced her intent to introduce legislation to help protect developmentally disabled victims of sex crimes in California’s state Developmental Centers and State Hospitals.

Senator Pavley is working with Disability Rights California, the California Coalition Against Sexual Assault (CALCASA), The Arc of California and United Cerebral Palsy to introduce legislation to require that sexual abuse victims within the state developmental centers and state psychiatric hospitals receive timely forensic medical examinations. 

“We must put an end to the repeated sexual abuse of men and women with developmental disabilities,” says Pavley, “Residents of large institutions, like developmental centers and state hospitals, are particularly vulnerable because their isolation and reliance on staff.”

A recent report by California Watch found 36 accusations of molestation and rape of residents by caretakers in the last four years at California's state institutions for the developmentally disabled. However, the Office of Protective Services, the police force at California's five developmental centers, failed to order a single rape exam during three of the four years. 

At most other police departments, use of a “rape kit” by trained forensic examiners for alleged sexual assault victims is considered routine in order to collect evidence for prosecution. Without physical evidence, it can be nearly impossible to solve sex crimes. This is especially true when the victims are people with severe communication and/or intellectual disabilities, who may have difficulty providing testimony or identifying perpetrators. 

"We applaud Senator Pavley's leadership in introducing legislation to protect men and women with developmental disabilities in these institutions,” says Sandra Henriquez, Executive Director of CALCASA.  “We must mandate effective policies and protocols for vulnerable populations to ensure all individuals are safe and free from sexual violence."

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