New report on sexual violence against people with disabilities

June 20, 2024

Sonoran Center for Excellence in Disabilities

Hidden sexual abuse is more widespread among Arizonans with disabilities of all ages than was previously known, according to a new report released by Sonoran Center for Excellence in Disabilities affiliated faculty member, Lynne Tomasa, PhD.

As part of the Untold Stories research project, sponsored by the Arizona Developmental Disabilities Planning Council, survivors’ stories reveal that healing from sexual trauma takes time, support and community engagement. 

“As a society, we tend to avoid talking about and listening to conversations that make us feel uncomfortable. This research tells us what we already know – sexual violence happens and impacts all aspects of survivors’ lives. We must listen to victims, observe behaviors and adapt our investigative strategies to address this problem,” said Tomasa.  “We can do more if we engage self-advocates, families, professionals and systems together in our efforts.” 


Lynne Tomasa
Elizabeth Jeffrey-Franco