As a supporter, you are responsible for ensuring the safety of the people you support. This includes making sure they are safe from assault. The topic of assault prevention is especially important for individuals with disabilities.
- The rate of violence against people with developmental disabilities is nearly three times higher than for those without a disability.
- Individuals with an intellectual disability have a rate of violent victimization higher than any other type of disability.
- In California, over half of reported incidents of abuse (July 2014 – June 2016) were cases of physical violence.
Help supporters talk to the individuals they support about how to prevent assault and how to defend themselves if threatened with an assault.
Supporters and the individuals you support
At the end of this session, participants should be able to:
- Identify 5 ways to stay safe
- Recognize danger signs of potential harm
- Describe an individual defense strategy for dealing with potential harm
Depending on the method of presentation you select, you will need:
- Chart, poster paper, board, or something else to write on
- Markers or pens
- Equipment to show materials on TV or monitor (if possible)
- Tip Sheet: How to Create an Assault Prevention Plan
- Tip Sheet: How to Defend Yourself – Fighting Back!
- Worksheet: Assault Prevention Knowledge Check
- Video: Fighting Back!
- Set-up equipment for presentation
- Print out/photocopy Supporter and Individual materials
- Print out/photocopy the Knowledge Check worksheet
There are many ways to present this material, including:
- Print the SafetyNet materials and go through them as a group with discussion. End the session with the Assault Prevention · Knowledge Check worksheet and a discussion of the answers.
- Use a computer and a projector, TV monitor, or monitor with an Internet connection to show SafetyNet materials (either downloaded onto your computer or directly on the website). End the session with the Assault Prevention Knowledge Check worksheet and a discussion of the answers.
- Print the SafetyNet materials as handouts for self-study. Each participant then completes the Assault Prevention Knowledge Check worksheet and discusses answers with other staff as a group.
Note: For some it may be better to provide for individual discussion of Learning Tools. Use your knowledge of individuals and their learning styles to make the decision of whether it is best for group or individual discussion. Additionally, if a participant shares an incident where they are being victimized, don’t ignore it. Make immediate arrangements to talk further with the individual and help them get needed support.
Suggested Activities for Sessions on Assault Prevention:
Start the discussion by asking people to talk about their everyday safety concerns across a variety of settings: when they are in the community, when they are at home, or wherever they are.
List the major themes from the discussion of the following items:
- Review the Tip Sheet: How to Create an Assault Prevention Plan. Brainstorm things individuals can do to stay safe. Review the list of safety concerns and find solutions for each.
- At the end of the session, check for understanding. Ask each participant to name three things they can do to stay safe.
Show the video, “Fighting Back”. Review the Tip Sheet: How To Defend Yourself – Fighting Back! Talk about awareness of danger signs.
- Discuss things people can do to protect themselves. Review each method. Ask people to roleplay responses to danger signs.
- Share that as a very last resort of being attacked, a person can use his or her body to defend themselves. Watch video again to review different ways a person might fight back.
- At the end of the session, check for understanding. Ask participants to name danger signs. Ask individuals to describe or demonstrate three things they can do to fight back.
- Show the video, “Fighting Back”. Review the Tip Sheet: How To Defend Yourself – Fighting Back! Talk about awareness of danger signs.
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