Pictured left to right: Task Force members Jossie Torres, Andrea Barton Reeves, Dory Michael-Martusis, Michele Brabant, Marian Leist, Gina Jones, Kendres Lally, Tawnia Pacheco, Beth Aura Miller, Tesha Tramontano-Kelly, Ken Cabral, Trinh Le, Yvette Bunting-Watts, Varian Slaters, Katie Hanley. (missing from photo: Michelle Bussolotti, Christina Latimer, Karen Morales, Jean Stack, Lisa Roland, Krista Ostaszewski)
DDS Commissioner Scheff recently formed the Sexual Abuse Prevention and Awareness Task Force. The goal of this Task Force is to examine the current DDS continuum of services to ensure a robust system exists to help raise awareness, empower people with IDD, and to make recommendations to ensure the individuals we support are healthy and safe. This task force is made up of internal and external stakeholders inclusive of providers, families, individuals, and family advocates. The new Sexual Abuse Prevention and Awareness Task Force met for the first time on March 5, 2020, to begin their work. As part of this meeting, the task force developed initial guiding principles to focus their ongoing work:
- Empowerment – Empower ALL to speak up and speak out!
- Keep the survivor in mind and validate experiences.
- Access, educate, include, and collaborate with community resources
The health and safety of individuals with intellectual disability is the highest priority for the department. DDS is appreciative of the task force members commitment to this important work and will continue to provide updates on their efforts.