National statistics show that individuals with disabilities are more likely to experience abuse than people without disabilities (Harrell, 2017). The Disability and Abuse Project (2013) reported that more than 70% of people with disabilities who were surveyed reported that they had been victims of abuse. More than 63% of family members said their loved one with a disability had been a victim of abuse. In spite of the high rates of abuse and trauma faced by individuals with disabilities, there is still a shortage of research and training regarding how to provide support for crime victims with disabilities (McGilvery, 2018). These statistics demonstrate a significant prevalence of abuse against people with disabilities and the clear need for a unique response. We believe the AAC model is that response. However, we wanted to hear directly from the agencies that work most directly with people with disabilities to better understand what services are currently available.
Ohio’s county boards of developmental disabilities (county boards) will be indispensable partners when creating and implementing the AAC model. County boards have an established infrastructure for investigating allegations of abuse, certified Investigative Agents (IAs) in all counties and a state-of-the-art computerized database for reporting incidents of abuse. As the AAC model develops, county boards will be key in ensuring the success of this new service in Ohio.
To demonstrate the need for the establishment of AACs, we mailed assessments to all county boards in Ohio. Ultimately, we received responses from more than 35 county boards. The collected data has been compiled in a new report, which demonstrates an overwhelming need for the kind of training, collaboration and cooperation the AACs hope to provide.
Needs Assessment 2019 [PDF]
Coming Soon: Ten Regional Centers
The AACs will break new ground by incorporating both universal and multi-sensory design into each location, allowing us to serve each client safely and purposefully, according to the needs of their disability. These centers will allow all adults with disabilities to access victim services in an equal, inclusive and accessible way, no matter where they live in the state.
The 10 centers will be located in the following Ohio counties:
These locations were chosen because of their proximity to state-run developmental centers and psychiatric hospitals, as well as existing Child Advocacy Centers. Each center will be unique outside but identical inside. Watch this space for more details about building designs, features and timelines.
The Adult Advocacy Centers continue to be invited to present about the AAC Model at local, national and international conferences. Representatives from the AACs will be at the following upcoming conferences:
- The 35th Annual Pacific Rim International Conference on Disability & Diversity in Honolulu, Hawaii, in March 2020;
- The Ohio Coalition for Adult Protective Services (OCAPS) Conference in Columbus, Ohio, in March 2020;
- The 2nd International Conference on Social Sciences in the 21st Century in Oxford, England, in March 2020;
- The 14th United Nations Congress on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice in Kyoto, Japan, in April 2020;
- The World Congress on Geriatrics and Palliative Care in Bangkok, Thailand, in May 2020;
- The American Association for Access, Equity and Diversity (AAAED) 46th National Conference and Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C., in June 2020;
- The 2nd World Mental Health Congress in Paris, France, in June 2020;
- The National Organization for Victim Assistance (NOVA) 46th Annual Training Event in Orlando in July 2020;
- ICTMH 2020: International Conference on Trauma and Mental Health in San Francisco in November 2020.
Check back as this list is updated. To invite the AACs to your conference, email firstname.lastname@example.org.