History & Purpose

This website was developed by SAFE's Disability Services Program in Austin, Texas, with the assistance of parents and professional stakeholders throughout the state. Funding was provided through the Children’s Justice Act Grant program by the Texas Center for the Judiciary.

This website focuses on:

        1. improving Texas child maltreatment providers’ assessment and investigation of cases involving children with disabilities or serious health-related problems who are suspected victims of abuse and neglect; and
        2. improving these assessments and investigations in a manner which limits additional trauma to the child victim.

Information on this website is based on feedback from a 13-member state-wide Advisory Council, SAFE staff, consultants, and 131 stakeholders from across the state of Texas who responded to an online survey about what types of information could help them respond to and investigate abuse, assault, and neglect against children with disabilities.

What Do People Need to Know?

All stakeholders need to be aware of the high rates of abuse experienced by children with disabilities. They also need to know how they can reduce risks of abuse, and how to recognize and respond when abuse and neglect do occur. Children with disabilities need to know about their bodies, have age-appropriate information about sexuality, and know what is and is not okay for other people to say and do to them.

Criminal justice staff, lawyers, judges, and other child abuse investigators across Texas need information and experience in working with children with disabilities. In addition, the criminal justice system needs to recognize that children with disabilities can be reliable witnesses to their own abuse.