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CAPE: Curriculum on Abuse Prevention and Empowerment

“A CAPE of Self-Protection for People with Disabilities and Elders Living Independently”

Published by the World Institute on Disability (WID)

Order using the WID Publications Order Form.

Abuse of people with disabilities and elders creates a significant barrier to independent living and full integration into the community. Abuse and mistreatment is defined as any unwanted, hurtful, dangerous, neglectful, frightening, insulting, oppressive, or demeaning behavior directed at a person or persons with disabilities. It can include physical, verbal, emotional, sexual, or financial mistreatment, including theft, violation of privacy or autonomy, and crime, including hate crime.

To reduce the incidence of abuse, WID created a comprehensive training curriculum in English and Spanish to educate people with disabilities, services providers, and family members about abuse awareness and prevention strategies. Funded by the National Institute on Disability Rehabilitation and Research (NIDRR), CAPE (Curriculum on Abuse Prevention and Empowerment) explores fundamental issues of abuse, best-practices training approaches, and personal stories of resisting and recovering from abuse. CAPE focuses particularly on preventing abuse by anyone in a “helping role,” including informal or paid assistants, family members, and services providers.

Disability organizations, in concert with the domestic violence community, have taken the lead in developing training material/ curricula for shelters about disability access and inclusion for disabled women. With CAPE, WID takes the next step in offering comprehensive empowerment and self-protection tools directly to disabled people living independently. These tools include developing self-respect, asserting boundaries, getting help, disclosing abuse, knowing one’s rights, learning self-advocacy skills, practicing safety planning, and building resilience. These are the “CAPE-abilities” that can interrupt and prevent abusive behavior and help those recover who have experienced abuse.

Drawing on many years of research on abuse and disability, CAPE addresses the specific needs of key disability groups: women, men, elders, youth, and “high risk” populations, such as those with cognitive and communication impairments. The vast majority of the 54 million people with disabilities in the U.S. can learn self-protection skills. Not all people with developmental disabilities or disabled youth or seniors are able to self-protect, but they can be included as central members of the team of people concerned with their safety and well-being.

CAPE is unique in its focus on peer support in abuse prevention and its multimedia format, based on proven educational theory and practice. CAPE uses attractive, motivating multimedia educational resources relevant to daily life, such as movies, quizzes, learning games, comic-book images, and stories by and about people with disabilities. (The CAPE curriculum is complemented by our companion book, Sticks and Stones: Disabled People’s Stories of Abuse, Defiance and Resilience, which includes 50 stories from diverse writers and a training guide.)

CAPE consists of four parts. Part One introduces abuse issues in the context of independent living and relationships with the people who provide personal assistance. Part One also explores the concept of empowerment and introduces our Empowerment Wheel with key skills for self-protection.

In Part Two, a range of key issues are explored, including sexual abuse, confronting violence, handling anger, care provider issues, and needs of specific populations. In this section, we offer suggestions for addressing multicultural issues relating to services and events.

Parts Three (Training Tools) and Four (Multimedia Tools) offer hundreds of teaching resources for individual learning, workshops, support groups, social events, and public education. These tools include short educational videos, an online self-administered quiz, PowerPoint presentations, comic-book scenes to stimulate discussion, FAQs, a movie guide to popular and documentary disability and abuse-related movies. CAPE offers over a hundred safety and abuse-prevention tips with ideas for their use in learning games, and downloadable informative brochures and bookmarks to distribute in the community. Included are links to hundreds of studies, articles, books, movies, organizations, and community resources.

CAPE is available in English and Spanish, is captioned, and accessible to screen readers. Explore the CAPE website to learn more about CAPE, including videos, sample empowerment tools, stories, articles, FAQs, and links to community resources.

CAPE on CD ROM is $20, plus $4 for shipping and handling, and $1.90 for California sales tax, if applicable. (You can print out the 200-page training guide from this CD or read it on-screen.)

Library Version: CAPE on CD ROM plus the 200 page full-color printed and bound training guide, is $60 plus shipping and handling ($4) and CA state tax ($5.70) where applicable.

Most comparable multimedia training curricula are over $100. We intend to reach the widest possible audience of people with disabilities at low cost. Order using the WID publications order form.

Free Online Tools
CAPE includes hundreds of pages of text and numerous multimedia tools. All of them are available by purchase of the CD-ROM. However, many of the multimedia tools are also available online on this website. The "Related Items" listed below are all free tools that can help you prevent abuse.