Help North Carolina Lead the Way When it Comes to Protecting Individuals with Disabilities
No mother should receive a call like I did. In June of 2013, I received a call that my beautiful 23-year-old daughter, Jenna, who has Down syndrome, was sexually assaulted. At the time of this awful attack, Jenna was evaluated and found to have suffered from blunt force trauma by her attacker. This assault occurred while Jenna was under the care of an agency authorized by the county and Medicaid to provide services to the disabled. As we, as a society, push for more inclusion for people with disabilities through all aspects of life, we must ensure individuals with disabilities are supported by the very best work force – and those individuals receive the proper screening, training and oversight. I join the National Down Syndrome Society (NDSS), the Down Syndrome Association of Greater Charlotte (DSAGC), The Arc’s National Center on Criminal Justice and Disability (NCCJD) and disability advocates from across the state of North Carolina and country to call on our North Carolina Legislature to pass legislation that requires: · Background checks and regular checks for all employees hired by the North Carolina Medicaid Program (similar to the law passed in Massachusetts in 2014) · A statewide Task Force to evaluate the training state employees receive to work with individuals with disabilities and to set recommendations to the Governor and the Secretary of Disability to implement statewide According to the US Department of Justice, more than 300,000 people per year suffer from sexual assault per year. We know that sexual assault happens way too often in the US. There are many cases that are never reported for a variety of reasons; Jenna’s case was reported and nothing has been done to criminalize the assaulter and ensure this never happens again to another individual with a disability in North Carolina. I hope you will join me to give a voice to Jenna and the more than 300,000 others that suffer from sexual assault and abuse each year by signing our petition. One attack is too many and we need to do everything we can to make sure that no other individual should have to experience what Jenna has gone through the last three years.