This training bulletin series by End Violence Against Women International is developed from the law enforcement perspective to improve the investigation and prosecution of sexual assaults perpetrated against people with disabilities. This information is designed to be helpful for any professional whose work intersects with the criminal justice system, to ensure that people with disabilities who are victimized have equal access to information, programs, and services – and that they are treated with fairness, compassion, and respect.
Part 1 of the series explores how to develop an investigative strategy. Part 2 discusses how to conduct a preliminary evaluation of the victim’s general capabilities, when the victim has some type of intellectual or developmental disability. While any disability the victim has can affect a sexual assault investigation, only those affecting cognition and communication have the potential to constitute a legal element of the crime. The question is whether the impairment is severe enough to prevent the person from being able to legally consent to sexual activity.