Gov. Gavin Newsom signed AB 640 by Assemblymember Jim Frazier, D-Discovery Bay, requiring training courses conducted by the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (OES) for district attorneys on sexual assault to include cases involving victims with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD).
“An I/DD individual who is the victim of a crime may have a difficult time speaking or describing what happened in detail, or may have trouble recalling the time sequence of a crime,” Frazier said. “Law enforcement and district attorneys must have comprehensive training on how to overcome these obstacles so we can ensure those who victimize the most vulnerable among us pay for their crimes and individuals with an I/DD receive justice and are protected.”
Detailed in a multi-part series on NPR, the investigation “Abused & Betrayed” concluded I/DD individuals are targeted for sexual assault at a rate seven times higher than those without a disability. Although Cal OES conducts training courses for district attorneys on how to investigate and prosecute sexual assault, child sexual exploitation and child sexual abuse crimes, it is lacking in terms of investigating and prosecuting crimes against disabled individuals. AB 640 would expand courses to include sex crimes against victims with disabilities.