Kansas BELIEVE Project

In 2014, the KCSDV and the Self Advocate Coalition of Kansas (SACK) partnered on the Office on Violence Against Women Disabilities grant program and formed the Kansas Building and Expanding Leaders and Individuals, Experience the Vision of Empowerment (Kansas BELIEVE) project.

KCSDV and SACK’s first collaboration began in 2012 when both organizations recognized the need to address gaps and barriers in responses to people with intellectual and developmental disabilities who are survivors of sexual violence.

The work of this project is all about building respect and relationships, resulting in more information and better response.

With technical assistance from the Vera Institute of Justice’s Center on Victimization and Safety, the Kansas BELIEVE team developed a vision and mission; conducted a needs assessment and report; and developed and are implementing a strategic plan.

Through these efforts, KCSDV and SACK have learned from one another, building sustainable relationships between the organizations and the sexual assault advocacy and self-advocate movements. The Kansas BELIEVE project is working toward sustainable change, increasing capacity within KCSDV and SACK to provide accessible, safe, and supportive services; and developing plans and tools that establish a strong foundation for future work.

The Kansas BELIEVE team named their experience of working together as equals as “Authentic Inclusion.”

Authentic Inclusion is about a willingness of team members to learn from each other and not view self-advocates as tokens. Self-advocates are valued, collaborative partners and are equal members of the Kansas BELIEVE team.

Authentic Inclusion is about building trust with each other, making accommodations for all team members, and providing a chance for all team members to share their stories and ideas. An equal voice, equitable partnership, and equal decision making belongs to all members of the team.  A common slogan used by the Kansas BELIEVE project is: Human, just like everyone else!

The Kansas BELIEVE team worked with sexual assault advocacy, self-advocate, and disabilities experts to develop a toolkit for self-advocates and a toolkit for sexual assault advocates. Both toolkits address accommodations and guardianship. Accommodations and guardianship were two of the main gaps identified during the project needs assessment for sexual assault survivors. The toolkits will be implemented in Kansas communities during 2019. The toolkits will have a focus on authentic inclusion and trauma-informed responses to people with intellectual and developmental disabilities who are survivors of sexual violence.

For more information about the Kansas BELIEVE project, please contact KCSDV’s Rural and Disabilities Projects Manager via http://kcsdv.org/contact.

This project was supported by Grant No. 2017-MU-AX-0006 awarded by the Office on Violence Against Women, U.S. Department of Justice. The opinions, findings, conclusions, and recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Department of Justice, Office on Violence Against Women.

The Kansas Coalition Against Sexual and Domestic Violence (KCSDV)’s mission is to prevent and eliminate sexual and domestic violence. Find more information on KCSDV’s website at http://kcsdv.org.

The 24-hour Kansas Crisis Hotline is 888-END-ABUSE (888-363-2287).


Last Updated on Dec 5, 2019