Advocacy Group Releases Recommendations To Address Issue of Sex Abuse, People With Disabilities

Published: Wednesday, January 30, 2019 - 6:10pm
Updated: Thursday, January 31, 2019 - 12:05pm
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News that a woman with severe disabilities was raped and later gave birth to a baby boy stunned the community and disability advocates, but sexual abuse in vulnerable populations is not unusual. 

A disability advocacy organization has issued recommendations they hope will change that.

The report was compiled by the Arizona Developmental Disabilities Planning Council. It contains legislative and regulatory recommendations including educating the disability community about sexual abuse, publicly posting performance reports of group homes and strengthening “duty to report” laws.

Erica McFadden is the executive director of the organization, and she says there are gaps in “duty to report” laws.

"There’s nothing to prevent an organization from doing something to retaliate. So we are suggesting there’s anti-retaliation laws so people won’t be afraid to report, because we believe that created a culture of fear at Hacienda," she said.

Hacienda Healthcare is where the young woman lived when she was allegedly assaulted by Nathan Sutherland, a nurse who was supposed to be caring for her. 

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