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It's My Right

A Guide for People with Disabilities The development of this guide was supported, in part, by a grant from the Department of Health and Human Services, Administration on Developmental Disabilities.


This guide was designed to help people with disabilities who live in the community remain as safe as possible. It was created with the help and suggestions of 52 women who have disabilities and who come from diverse backgrounds.

If you are experiencing abuse or if you have experienced abuse in the past, you are not alone. Too often, people with disabilities experience abuse. This guide offers information and ways to develop skills that might help you escape from or minimize abuse. Even if you've never experienced abuse, this guide will help you remain safe and will give you tools in case you ever do find yourself in an abusive situation or relationship.

The purpose of this guide is to help you: - Further develop your skills and strengths. - Increase your safety. - Reduce the possibility of abuse and mistreatment. - Create trusting, comfortable relationships with support people. - Improve the overall quality of your life.

This guide shares information and has small homework assignments which will help you build upon your existing skills and knowledge to further increase your safety. When you complete this guide you will: - Know your rights. - Be able to define and identify abusive behaviors. - Have strategies in place to help you stay safe at home and in the community. - Understand how to access and use community resources. - Know how to set healthy limits with other people. - Have additional skills for managing respectful relationships. We're pleased you're interested in this information, and hope you'll share it with other people who may find it useful! Suggestions for Using this Guide:

- You can complete this Guide at your own pace. You may want to read it straight through and then go back and work on the exercises, or you may want to do a session each week. Work through the Guide in whatever way feels most comfortable to you. - Because the purpose of this Guide is to help you be as safe as possible, it discusses how to define and identify different types of abuse. You may find some of this information upsetting to think about. You may want to find a safe place to read this Guide. For instance, you might go to a friend's home or a favorite park where you feel relaxed.

- Before you begin, you may want to find local hotline numbers for abuse-related support services. That way, if you're upset by the information, you can call to get emotional support. Hotline numbers and resources for the Portland, Oregon area are listed at the end of this Guide. If you do not live in the Portland, Oregon area, you can call the following national hotlines toll free to get your local hotline number:

National Domestic Violence Hotline:
- Toll Free Telephone: 1-800-799- 7233
- Toll Free TTY: 1-800-787-3224
RAINN: Rape, Abuse, Incest National Network: - 1-800-656-4673
- You may want to find a friend who is also interested in this information, so you can complete your Guides together. You can discuss the information and support each other through the process.
- If you are currently in an abusive situation, you may want to consider a safe place to keep your Guide where the abusive person won't see it. Possibly a trusted friend, co-worker, or family member can hold onto the Guide for you when you're not working on it.

Table of Contents

1. I Have the Right to be Safe
- Define what a "safe life" means to you.
- Acknowledge skills and strategies you've already developed to take care of yourself and keep yourself as safe as possible.
- Learn and practice additional skills to keep yourself safe.
2. I Have the Right to Take Care of Myself
- Learn what "self-care" means and why it's important.
- Identify ways to take care of yourself emotionally, physically, and spiritually.
- Define healthy boundaries.
- Practice setting limits.
3. Knowing People and Places that are Safe
- Use what you've learned about boundaries and setting limits to identify safe people and safe places in your world.
4. Knowing What is Not Safe
- Create a safe environment for yourself.
- Identify different kinds of abuse.
- Understand mandatory reporting of abuse in Oregon.
5. Creating a Safety Plan
Download and Create Your Own
- Learn about safety plans and why they're important.
- Organize important items into a safety kit.
- Gather information about personal and community resources.
- Review safety strategies developed by other women with disabilities.
6. Preventing Abuse
- Learn "red flags" of abusive personalities.
- Review strategies to prevent or minimize abuse.
7. Conclusion

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SafePlace Fact Sheets
The following documents are shared with permission from Disability Services ASAP of SafePlace, Austin Texas

  • Strategies for working with domestic violence survivors with mental llness
  • Tips For communicating with survivors with cognitive disabilities
  • Tips For parents: Talking with your child with disabilities about sex
  • Tips For working with sexual abuse survivors who have disabilities
  • Tips for what to do if an individual with disability discloses abuse

  • Additional Resources

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