Q: My sister is 25 years old and has Autism. She was previously in a physically abusive relationship, and I’m happy to say she is no longer in that relationship and is receiving therapy to deal with the trauma she endured. I want to help other women who have disabilities and have experienced domestic violence but am not sure where to begin. Any recommendations?
A: Domestic violence affects millions of women with disabilities. In fact, women with disabilities are twice as likely to be victims of domestic violence as women without disabilities. Here are few steps to take:
• Report suspected abuse to the police or adult protective services
• Call and get connected with your local women’s domestic violence center and ask them how you can join their efforts in the fight against domestic violence
• Educate yourself on barriers that impact persons with disabilities such as living in isolation with no supports and limited access to various services
• Learn the signs of abuse such as bruises, burns, cuts or scars, eye injuries, frequent reports of head and stomach pain and difficulties walking or sitting
• Call The Arc Minnesota at 833.450.1494 to find out more ways to promote and protect the human rights of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. You can also view The Arc Abuse Prevention guides here: https://arcminnesota.org/arc-guides/