Recommendations to end sex abuse of Arizonans with developmental disabilities

Photo courtesy: Arizona Developmental Disabilities Planning Council

Report release comes as response to the Hacienda HealthCare investigation

News Release

Arizona Developmental Disabilities Planning Council

The Arizona Developmental Disabilities Planning Council released a report with recommendations for the Arizona State Legislature and state agencies to prevent sexual abuse of Arizonans with developmental disabilities.

“We hope these ideas will shed light on the gaps people with disabilities experience when it comes to protection,” said Erica McFadden, ADDPC executive director. “If state leaders act on any of these recommendations, it will make us safer than before.”

The report Sexual Abuse of Arizonans with Developmental and Other Disabilities includes specific actions state agencies, providers, families and others can take to prevent and reduce sexual abuse of vulnerable adults in Arizona.

The report’s recommendations include:

  • Strengthening “duty to report” laws and training requirements
  • Removing exemptions from state licensing for facilities serving people with intellectual disabilities
  • Raising awareness of sexual abuse among people with disabilities and their families
  • Funding sexual violence prevention and trauma-informed care
  • Establishing protections for victims with disabilities who testify
  • Creating laws requiring Adult Protective Services to investigate every suspected case of abuse, neglect, and exploitation involving vulnerable adults
  • Publicly posting all residential inspection reports

“The Hacienda case has exposed the hidden nature of sexual abuse to the broader community,” said John Black, chairman of ADDPC. “We are committed to search for solutions over the long-haul.”

There are also steps community members can take. Anyone who would like ideas on how to reduce risk for a loved one can check out the ADDPC list of suggested questions families can ask providers here at this link.

The report is available in a variety of formats: a screen reader-friendly version and a PDF file. Anyone can request a hard copy or other accommodations by calling (602) 542-8973 or by email at sruf@azdes.gov

Stay updated on this project and follow along during the Arizona Legislative Session by visiting the Council online at

About the Arizona Developmental Disabilities Planning Council

The Arizona Developmental Disabilities Planning Council is made up of individuals with disabilities, family members, professional stakeholders and state agency representatives appointed by the Governor of Arizona. We envision one community working together to achieve full inclusion and participation of people with developmental disabilities. We collect and publish research, fund grants, advance inclusion through advocacy and promote self-determination.

A staff of six assists the all-volunteer Council, which is made up of individuals with disabilities, family members, professional stakeholders and state agency representatives appointed by the Governor of Arizona.

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