The Safety Net




Families & Consumers
Service Providers
Clinical Professionals
Regional Center Staff
National Trends & Research
Conferences & Training
Other Risk Management Information

 

 

Previous Articles

Select a category:


Search:

 

 

The Safety Net Newsletter

Click here to View Current Newsletter

Newsletters are in PDF Format. Click the link below to download the free Acrobat Reader:

Adobe Acrobat Reader

Previous issues of The Safety Net Newsletter:

 

 

 


Service Providers
This Months Featured Article
June

Responding to Signs of Sexual Abuse

Introduction

Service providers have duties and responsibilities to protect consumers from harm, including reporting suspected sexual abuse. Unfortunately, sexual abuse is under-reported. This means that incidents of suspected sexual abuse are not reported to the proper authorities as they should.

There are different reasons why suspected sexual abuse may not be reported. These include the following:

  • The consumer may not be able to clearly express what occurred (or is occurring) in ways that others understand.
  • The consumer may not realize that he or she has been victimized.
  • The consumer may be afraid to reveal what has occurred.
  • Possible signs of sexual abuse are not recognized or are not fully considered by staff and others close to the consumer.
  • The consumer’s allegations may be dismissed as fabrications or untruthful reports.
  • Persons aware of the suspected sexual abuse may be reluctant to get involved and thus remain silent.
  • Staff may fear reprisal if a co-worker is the suspected perpetrator.
  • Staff may be uncertain if the actions described or observed constitute sexual abuse.
  • Staff may also be uncertain about what to do – how the suspected sexual abuse should be reported and to whom.

When suspected sexual abuse is not reported, the consumer may continue to be victimized and suffer the consequences repeatedly. Needed services and supports to assist the consumer in response to such an event cannot then be provided.

Service providers must be prepared to respond to incidents of suspected sexual abuse. Listed below are the basic steps that service providers should take:

  1. Be aware of the possible signs of sexual abuse. (See this month’s article for Consumers and Families at this website.)
  2. Know ahead of time where to go in your community. Timing of response is critical in these situations.
  3. Take action if a consumer communicates that he or she has been abused. Do not ignore or dismiss any such reports regardless of whether or not they appear plausible. The proper authorities will determine what occurred.
  4. Immediately protect the consumer from continued contact with the alleged perpetrator. If the alleged perpetrator is a staff member, the staff member should be removed from a position of direct contact with consumers. If the alleged perpetrator is another consumer, necessary precautions, including separating the affected consumers, should be taken to protect others from harm.
  5. If sexual assault (including rape or attempted rape) is suspected, preserve any evidence at the scene of the incident for disposition by law enforcement.
  6. If sexual assault is suspected, seek immediate medical evaluation and treatment for the consumer from a local hospital emergency room or sexual assault center in your community. The person should not bathe or brush teeth beforehand. Know ahead of time where to go in your community.
  7. For a list of sexual assault/rape crisis centers in your city or county contact:
    California Coalition Against Sexual Assault
    (906) 446-2520
    http://www.calcasa.org/help/help_rcc.html

    National Sexual Assault Hotline
    1-800-656-HOPE
    http://www.rainn.org/counseling.html
  8. Immediately notify local law enforcement and Child Protective Services or Adult Protective Services.
  9. According to your provider policies, ensure that the family or conservator is notified of the incident.
  10. Report the suspected sexual abuse to the Regional Center within 24 hours.
  11. Do the right thing – if you aren’t sure something should be reported, report it anyway.
  12. Provide comfort and support to the consumer. Avoid questioning the consumer about details of what occurred – trained investigators are in the best position to do this.
  13. Work with the consumer’s service coordinator to arrange support services such as counseling and therapy.



Printer Friendly Version printer friendly version

 

 

Last Month's Article

May
Indoor Air Pollurion

 

 

Previously Featured Articles




 

Take the DDS Survey

Help us build a better DDS Safety Net Community for you and take our brief survey

Click Here To Take The Survey