Assistance Unit for victims of abuse who have intellectual disabilities (UAVDI).

People with intellectual disabilities are especially vulnerable to different types of abuse.

With this in mind, and aware of the absence of a specialised service offering help, Fundación A LA PAR set up this pioneering unit in Spain in 2010.

The project came about in collaboration with the Guardia Civil police force and Fundación MAPFRE. Nowadays it works to support people with intellectual disabilities, coordinating with legal and protection authorities.

Why are people with intellectual disabilities more vulnerable?

People with intellectual disabilities are more likely to be victims of sexual abuse for the following reasons:

  • their limited access to sex education programmes,
  • their high dependency ratios,
  • contexts of a lack of intimacy due to the need to be cared for by others,
  • a lack of social skills such as assertiveness and in communication skills,
  • little awareness of right and wrong,
  • not being aware of their rights

In addition, other factors contribute significantly to the vulnerability of victims of abuse to suffer from secondary victimisation. Two are particularly important:

  • the inadequacy of police and legal instruments, procedures and interviews
  • and the lower degree of credibility placed on their testimony

The three main activities of the UAVDI are:

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INTERVENTION, with all individuals with intellectual disabilities who have been victims of sexual abuse or mistreatment, along with their relatives and referring professionals. We offer the following services:

  • Evaluation of the case (forensic and clinical), evaluation and advice for decision making (protective measures, legal case, legal advice, etc.)
  • Individual, family, and group psychotherapy
  • The services of a facilitator, whose job is to guarantee that the victim has equal access to the justice system, proposing the appropriate procedural adjustments to legal agents and providing the victim with the necessary support in the police and legal process.
  • Legal advice providing our knowledge and experience to individuals with intellectual disability, their family members and professionals. The aim is to guarantee that they have all the information they need, duly adapted and in the best possible conditions, as they pass through the legal process.
  • Sheltered accommodation for women with intellectual disabilities who are victims of violence in the Community of Madrid. . This resource provides accommodation and comprehensive care through an individual and interdisciplinary care plan so that women can become independent in terms of their personal, social and work life.
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RESEARCH, is the backbone of the project, which is intended to adapt the necessary forensic tools, law enforcement, legal procedures and therapeutic instruments when working with victims of intellectual disability. Based on the research carried out, the first law enforcement guide for professionals from the world of intellectual disability has been written on how to deal with sexual abuse and domestic violence.

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PREVENTION AND RAISING AWARENESS, working to create spaces where we can raise awareness and provide training (in-person and online) for all professionals who work directly or indirectly with people with intellectual disabilities.

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During 2018, Fundación Carmen Pardo-Valcarce ran the project “Support for victims with intellectual disabilities in their passage through the police and judicial system in the Community of Madrid”, subsidised by the 0.7% of personal income tax scheme.