Last week, staff from State Senator Fran Pavley’s office (SD 27 – Calabasas) met with CALCASA and other disability rights groups to address the prevalence of sexual assault cases occurring at the five Developmental Centers within the state serving men and women with developmental disabilities. As reported in a series of investigative reports by California Watch, there have been 36 reported sexual assault cases within the past four years at California’s Developmental Centers, which are located in Sonoma, Riverside, Tulare, Orange, and Los Angeles counties. In each of these 36 reported cases at these centers, none of these sexual assault survivors with developmental disabilities received a sexual assault forensic exam. More than a dozen of these cases (along with other abuses) occurred at the Sonoma Developmental Center, which led to the State of California revoking the center’s primary license to operate a majority part of their facility that houses over 500 men and women with developmental disabilities.
Currently, Senator Pavley is working with CALCASA and disability rights groups to seek a solution or potential legislation to address this critical problem in the state’s Developmental Centers. These efforts are focused on developing key protocols and policies to protect and ensure the safety of this vulnerable population from sexual violence.