SACRAMENTO – Late last week, Governor Gavin Newsom signed AB 640 by Assemblymember Jim Frazier (D-Discovery Bay) that requires 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 & developmental disabilities (I/DD). The bill had a broad coalition of supporters including both law enforcement & disability advocates and enjoyed unanimous support in both the Assembly and Senate
“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, “Abused & Betrayed”, a lengthy investigation concluded that 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 & prosecuting crimes against individuals with disabilities. AB 640 would expand these courses to include sex crimes against victims with disabilities.
Assemblymember Frazier represents the 11th Assembly District, which includes the communities of Antioch, Bethel Island, Birds Landing, Brentwood, Byron, Collinsville, Discovery Bay, Fairfield, Isleton, Knightsen, Locke, Oakley, Pittsburg (partial), Rio Vista, Suisun City, Travis AFB, Vacaville and Walnut Grove.
CONTACT: Galen Dobbins (916) 319-2011 Galen.Dobbins@asm.ca.gov