Meeting Archive:
Investigating Sexual Assault Against People with Disabilities

Meeting Description:

Most training on sexual assault of people with disabilities typically focuses on issues such as the following:

  • Definitions, descriptions, and characteristics of various disabilities
  • Legal requirements (e.g., compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act)
  • Physical accessibility issues
  • Communication guidelines (e.g., language use, communication aids and services)
  • Etiquette, respect, and empowerment

These are critically important areas, and the primary message of such training is often to "see the person, not the disability." Police officers are taught to approach victims with disabilities and the investigation "like they would in any other case." The hope is that victims who have a disability will be treated with the same respect as other victims, and this is an important goal we all need to support.


However, when training for law enforcement focuses solely on respect, police officers are left wondering what they should actually do when they are assigned to investigate a crime against a person with a disability. How do they approach the victim, craft an investigative strategy, and gather and document the relevant evidence? How do they effectively communicate with victims, and ensure they are doing everything they can to protect victims' safety while still respecting their self-autonomy? How do they access and utilize the people, technologies, and resources that might be available to help? 


This webinar is designed to answer some of these questions.


 This project is supported by Grant No. 2013-TA-AX-K021 awarded by the U.S. Department of Justice, Office on Violence Against Women. The opinions, findings, conclusions, and recommendations expressed in this publication / program are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Department of Justice, Office on Violence Against Women.
Date: Wed, May 28, 2014
Time: 10:00 AM PDT
Duration: 1 hour 30 minutes
Host(s): End Violence Against Women International
 Presenter Information
Shirley Paceley, Founder and Director, Blue Tower Training, Macon Resources, Inc.
Speaker Photo

Shirley Paceley is the Founder and Director of Blue Tower Training, which has resources in 48 states and 15 countries; she has spoken in over 30 states as well as in Iceland and Guam. Shirley has worked with people with disabilities for 40 years and has a Master's Degree in Clinical Psychology. Shirley is on the Board of Directors of EVAWI and the Editorial Board of Sexual Assault Report.  Shirley developed the WE CAN Stop Abuse Curriculum for people with developmental disabilities and authored My Body My Choice as well as book chapters and articles, music CDs, and DVDs.

Joanne Archambault, Executive Director, End Violence Against Women International Sergeant (Retired), San Diego Police Department
Speaker Photo

Joanne Archambault is the Founder and Executive Director of EVAWI, as well as the President and Training Director of Sexual Assault Training & Investigations (SATI), Inc. She serves as co-editor of the Sexual Assault Report and a member of CounterQuo, a national initiative that seeks to challenge and change media and legal responses to sexual violence. In April 2010, Joanne was honored by U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder for her decades of tireless work on behalf of sexual assault victims, a prestigious National Crime Victims' Service Award for Allied Professionals. On October 27, 2010, Joanne was invited to meet with President Obama and Vice President Biden for the first assembly on violence against women to ever be held at the White House.

Kimberly A. Lonsway, Ph.D., Director of Research, End Violence Against Women International
Speaker Photo

Kim Lonsway earned her Ph.D. in the Department of Psychology at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.  She then served for two years as a post-doctoral research fellow at the interdisciplinary American Bar Foundation in Chicago, Illinois.  She has volunteered for over fifteen years as a victim advocate, and was awarded the first-ever Volunteer of the Decadein 2012 from the Sexual Assault Recovery and Prevention (SARP) Center in San Luis Obispo, CA.