WHO WE ARE
Welcome to the Arizona Sexual Violence and Disability Network and our three-year strategic plan. We are a passionate group of people who believe that change is possible when we work together with a clear focus, shared commitment and measurable goals.
We originally formed in 2018 as the “Arizona Sexual Violence and I/DD Response Collaborative.” Although the Collaborative was meeting regularly prior to an incident at an Arizona HealthCare facility that gained nationwide attention, the events created an even greater sense of urgency to address sexual violence of people with I/DD throughout the state. The incident involved a woman with disabilities who was unable to respond to what was happening to her, who was raped many times and impregnated by a male nurse who eventually plead guilty to sexual abuse and vulnerable adult charges.
This incident sparked deep concern that such blatant sexual violence could occur with no one knowing and no guardrails in place to ensure the safety of those who are most at risk and often the most isolated in our society. Moreover, the abuse was long-term and may have gone unnoticed for years. This is a systemic problem that occurs in group homes, private homes and other settings across Arizona. In response to this event, Governor Ducey issued Executive Order 2019-03, Relating to Enhanced Protections for Individuals with Disabilities, on February 6, 2019 (See Appendix A). This resulted in the creation of 30 recommendations summarized by The Abuse & Neglect Task Force. Shortly thereafter, the Network was formed to continue this vital work.
Our mission is to identify and respond to critical needs of individuals with IDD and other disabilities who face the greatest risk of sexual violence in Arizona. In our first two years, we focused our efforts on developing publications and easy-to-use resources, providing in-person and online webinars and training, and following key legislation to educate others on policy issues.
ARIZONA NETWORK WORKGROUPS
Much of the day-to-day work of The Network gets done through ongoing meetings of five Workgroups.
Over the past year, each Workgroup talked about and defined our goals and objectives during the strategic planning process.
The Network is comprised of five Work Groups:
Criminal Justice: We seek to better understand the criminal justice and law enforcement systems and how victims with disabilities – from first contact to interviewing to trial – are supported in order to determine how these systems can be strengthened. This Workgroup is in transition as it looks to recruit new leadership and will be working on its goals and objectives in the following year.
School Abuse Prevention Best Practices: We research, develop, and publish guidelines regarding sexual abuse prevention and reporting that centers students with IDD. The group supports proactive measures that encourage healthy and safe relationships, self-advocacy, and awareness of sexual violence and other prevention-based topics for school-aged youth, school personnel, and families.
Training and Prevention: We collect, review, and maintain a list of current prevention and training curricula on the topic of sexual violence and IDD, while also collaborating to fill gaps in training and prevention resources throughout the state for families, Self-Advocates, medical professionals, providers, law enforcement, state agencies, and others.
Trauma Informed Care Access for Individuals with IDD: We work to bring a trauma informed lens to the topic of people with IDD who experience sexual violence, including in the areas of prevention, treatment and healing.
Tribal Resources: The Tribal Resources Workgroup seeks to create resources and increase accessibility to sexual assault violence resources for tribal communities and Native Americans with IDD. We will achieve this by connecting with key community partners, utilizing prevention programs, increase education and awareness, and offer health and wellness resources.
HOW TO GET INVOLVED
We prioritize our commitment to building stronger connections between all Network and Workgroup members, and to those not yet part of the Network, as we continue to grow the movement to address sexual violence throughout Arizona specifically by growing our Network and improving our internal operational structure.
We are excited to recruit Workgroup leaders and members that have a strong belief and experience with building collaboration. We welcome people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, people of diverse backgrounds (including BIPOC and Native American communities), and people who work in the intersectional topic of sexual violence. We would love to have you join a workgroup! If you are interested, please fill out this form.
MEET OUR EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE TEAM
Leigh Ann Davis
Kimberly Yellow Robe
Join us at the next Network Quarterly Meetings
January 4, 2024 1 pm – 2:30 pm PST
April 4, 2024 1 pm – 2:30 pm PST
Join through the following Zoom link:
Meeting ID: 831 3154 4016