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Strong, Safe and Free

A Breaking Free curriculum for people who have developmental disabilities.

How to Help People with Developmental Disabilities Stay Safe from Sexual Assault

There are many behaviors and skills that family, friends, caregivers and service providers can encourage and foster in people with developmental disabilities to help them stay safe from abuse. Read this brochure for important information about sexual assault, how it relates specifically to people with developmental disabilities, and what you can do to help prevent it.

Strong, Safe and Free

Topics Covered:

  • Feelings
  • Boundaries and Different Types of Relationships
  • Safe Person
  • Body Anatomy and Types of Touches
  • Healthy Relationships and Sexual Activity
  • Sexual Abuse

The Contents page on the Curriculum includes approximate teaching times for each section of the curriculum. Each group of students will be different and exercises will take differing amounts of time. Some exercises will be more important for your group than others. Although the curriculum was developed for adults it has also been used successfully with high school students, and could be adapted for younger students.

What makes this curriculum unique is the emphasis placed on practice. Each session has a section titled “self-defense” which contains exercises in verbal, non-verbal, and physical self-defense.

Materials for SS&F Sessions

Videos showing how to teach the self-defense exercises.
Basic Yes No And Yell
Setting A Boundary
Practicing In Context
Introduction To Basic Physical Skills
Back Attacks
Front Attacks -Approaches And Grabs
Front Attacks – Chokes

This curriculum was made possible by a grant from the Oregon Attorney General’s Sexual Assault Task Force. In addition, Shirley Paceley (co-author of the WE CAN stop abuse curriculum) allowed us to incorporate some of her materials, and we also drew from PCAR (Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape) and the AVERT curriculum. Information about these curricula as well as how to access two videos from them that are used in Safe, Strong, and Free, is included on the Reference Materials page of the Materials for SS&F Sessions file.