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Canadian Down Syndrome Society is Concerned About Our Most Vulnerable Canadian Citizens

May 22, 2009

Calgary – The Canadian Down Syndrome Society is outraged at the recent decision by a Quebec judge to acquit an HIV positive man accused of sexually assaulting a woman with Down syndrome after she was unable to positively identify her attacker. More shocking was that the attacker became involved with his victim while volunteering at a community organization that serves people with developmental disabilities.

Statistics show that more than 90 percent of people with developmental disabilities will experience sexual abuse at some point in their lives. Forty-nine percent will experience 10 or more abusive incidents, (Valenti-Hein & Schwartz, 1995). More reported incidents in women than men.

Service delivery models often perceived to be the "safest place" for citizens with developmental disabilities often prove to be just the opposite as citizens living in institutions and who have only paid service providers in their lives are often the most vulnerable of Canadians.

Greater training concerning disclosure to support Canadians who communicate in non-traditional ways is desperately needed in the Adult and Child protective Services in Canada. Greater still is the need for comprehensive, accurate and ongoing sexual education for citizens with developmental disabilities, for it is knowledge and language that empower our most vulnerable citizens.

The Canadian Down Syndrome Society (CDSS) is a vital resource linking individuals, parents and professionals through advocacy, education and providing information. The mission of the CDSS is to ensure equitable opportunities for all Canadians with Down syndrome. This means, to make sure all Canadians with Down syndrome have the right supports to give them the same opportunities that everyone else has. Our vision is a proud Canada where ALL are welcome, we embrace diversity and we value everyone′s genes equally.

For more information contact:
Christy Thompson
Public Relations Manager
Canadian Down Syndrome Society
Phone: 403-270-8500

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