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Dodge, Fillmore, and Olmsted County Victim Services: Rochester

In Rochester, Dodge, Fillmore, and Olmsted County Victim Services is working to reduce the occurrence of sexual harm between youth who have intellectual or developmental disabilities by delivering a healthy sexuality curriculum to youth with disabilities; engaging parents in a companion parent session on supporting the lessons at home; recommending changes to organizational practices and policies; and increasing their competency working with youth with disabilities.

Organization's Mission Statement

To bring the community surrounding youth and young adults with developmental disabilities together to prevent sexual violence perpetration and victimization for youth and young adults with developmental disabilities.

Lessons Learned

  • Let people know what you are working on. Some of the biggest steps forward came when networking at events and mentioning the project.
  • Since schools can be difficult to bring your programming to, start by creating relationships with other, easier to reach partners. Once you have become more established, it can be easier to approach schools.
  • NEVER UNDERESTIMATE A PARENT. They care more than anyone else about their children’s wellbeing, so use this for the good of your project. Parents may know people and partners who can be helpful to your project and can lend you credibility by making introductions or asking for you.
  • Approach partnerships as being mutually beneficial, in addition to looking at what role your partners can play for you consider what role you can play for them. Partnerships will evolve over time, and sometimes partners will play an important part other than the one initially planned.

Why It's Needed

On a survey, one mother shared a story about her son who was victimized by someone at his work placement. Through [other] conversations it became evident that the biggest challenge wasn’t that the system was deliberately trying to avoid addressing victimization, but unsure how to do so… I am extremely grateful to this parent for sharing this story because we know now that before we can begin efforts at preventing sexual violence, we also need to educate those involved about what sexual violence is.
—Alex Peterson

Community Partners

  • Parents
  • The Arc Southeastern Minnesota
  • Rochester Parks and Recreation
  • Olmstead County Community Services
  • And more!