Thanks to a $20,000 grant from the State Council on Developmental Disabilities Area Board 5, CALICO will improve services to victims with developmental disabilities in Alameda County. Over the next 12 months, CALICO will increase the number of child, adolescent and adult victims with developmental disabilities who benefit from a collaborative response to abuse allegations; improve the quality of the response for victims and their families; and prevent future victimization.
CALICO will achieve those goals by training police officers, child welfare workers and other professional partners, and strengthening the relationships between agencies that aid populations with developmental disabilities and those who respond to victims of crime. The project will culminate with CALICO’s 16th Annual Collaborative Training, scheduled for September 2013. The daylong conference will feature national experts skilled in effective communication with victims with disabilities and will present a forum for sharing best practices and improved inter-agency protocols developed through this project.
Since its inception, CALICO has provided skilled assistance with investigations involving crimes against persons with developmental disabilities and licensing violations at residential facilities. Yet, the number of adults and children with developmental disabilities we aid each year is small. Recent research shows that individuals with disabilities are at least four times more likely to be victimized than individuals without disabilities, and their risk of sexual abuse is even higher. Studies also indicate that just a small percentage of crimes involving people with disabilities are reported, with even fewer being prosecuted.
CALICO’s training series, offered through this grant, will educate professionals about effective ways to engage, aid and respond to victims with a range of cognitive, communicative and other disabilities and encourage increased use of our services. It is our aim to ensure the safety and well-being of people with developmental disabilities, by treating them with respect, recognizing their abuse, and listening to their stories.