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Adult Advocacy Centers hope to empower I/DD community with new safety planning guidebooks

May 1, 2020

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COLUMBUS, OHIO – Today the Adult Advocacy Centers are releasing two tools meant to help people with developmental and intellectual disabilities think through and document their personal safety networks. The Self-Directed Safety Planning Guidebook and the Assisted Safety Planning Guidebook provide a step-by-step process for considering someone’s access to privacy, whether they have a reliable way to reach out, and who they could reach out to if they feel unsafe. This problem-solving approach is meant to be directed by the person with disabilities themselves, either on their own or with the help of a trusted advocate.

Although safety planning is best done in an in-person meeting, county boards of developmental disabilities could also offer planning sessions remotely using HIPAA-compliant virtual platforms. This is especially important now that people with disabilities are disconnected from their communities – and from people who might notice signs of abuse and neglect – due to the COVID-19 pandemic. People with disabilities are often dealing with a shortage of nurses and other staff, and day programs are closed, putting them at greater risk.

“Safety planning is an empowering process for people with disabilities,” says AACs Executive Director Katherine Yoder. “It helps people improve their problem-solving skills, so they know that they can take action if they find themselves in an unsafe situation. We hope DD boards and Service and Support Administrators find the tools helpful.”

A similar resource is being developed for the mental health community.


The Adult Advocacy Centers (AACs) were founded to serve adults with disabilities who are alleged victims or witnesses of abuse, maltreatment or neglect. Ohio will be the first state to develop the AACs model – one-point facilities equipped to provide holistic, accessible, trauma-informed services to adult crime victims with disabilities. Learn more at