Access to Justice for People with Intellectual Disabilities (UAVDI)

People with intellectual disabilities are especially vulnerable to different types of abuse.

With this in mind, and aware of the absence of a specialised service offering help, Fundación A LA PAR set up this pioneering unit in Spain in 2010.

The project came about in collaboration with the Guardia Civil police force and Fundación MAPFRE. Nowadays it works to support people with intellectual disabilities, coordinating with legal and protection authorities.

Why are people with intellectual disabilities more vulnerable?

People with intellectual disabilities are more likely to be victims of sexual abuse for the following reasons:

  • their limited access to sex education programmes,
  • their high dependency ratios,
  • contexts of a lack of intimacy due to the need to be cared for by others,
  • a lack of social skills such as assertiveness and in communication skills,
  • little awareness of right and wrong,
  • not being aware of their rights

In addition, other factors contribute significantly to the vulnerability of victims of abuse to suffer from secondary victimisation. Two are particularly important:

  • the inadequacy of police and legal instruments, procedures and interviews
  • and the lower degree of credibility placed on their testimony

The three main activities of the UAVDI are:


THE INTERVENTION, with all those people with intellectual disabilities who have been victims of sexual abuse or mistreatment, as well as with their relatives and reference professionals . The services we offer are:

  • Assessment of the case (forensic and clinical), feedback and advice for decision-making (protection measures, for reporting, legal advice, etc)
  • Individual, family and group psychotherapy.
  • Facilitator service, whose function is to guarantee access to justice for the victim in equal conditions, proposing to the judicial agents appropriate procedural adjustments and providing the victim with the necessary support in the police and judicial process.
  • Legal advice providing our knowledge and experience to people with intellectual disabilities, their families and professionals to ensure that their passage through the process be with all the information duly adapted and in the best possible conditions.
  • Reception apartment for women with intellectual disabilities who are victims of violence in the Community of Madrid. This resource provides accommodation and comprehensive care through the development of an Individualized and interdisciplinary Care Plan, in order for women to achieve their personal, social and work autonomy. See more information

INVESTIGATION, which is the backbone of the project and seeks to achieve the necessary adaptations of forensic tools, police and judicial procedures and therapeutic instruments in the work with victims with intellectual disabilities. As a result of the research carried out, the first guide to police intervention with people with intellectual disabilities and the first guide to intervention in the face of sexual abuse and domestic violence for professionals in the world of intellectual disabilities have been developed.


PREVENTION AND AWARENESS, we work to create awareness and training spaces (face-to-face and online) for all professionals who directly or indirectly work with people with intellectual disabilities.

Do you think you are experiencing abuse or do you know someone in this situation?

Find out here:

Learn about our next sessions:

  • Athena Begin Conference. Analysis of Gender Violence against People with Intellectual Disabilities