Violence Prevention & Response
Securing Autistic Futures from Endangerment (SAFE) project is surveying Autistic people who are abuse survivors to identify red flags unique to the abuse experienced by Autistic people. Although research has shown how vulnerable to abuse Autistic people are, further research is needed to develop resources to address this widespread issue. Our project hopes to change this by documenting the scale and type of abuse experienced by Autistic people.
While academic studies do not address the full breadth of this issue, they do give us insight into how serious of an issue this is. According to a study published in November 2021 in the journal Research in Autism Spectrum Disorder, “autistic traits [are] a significant predictor of experiencing violence” with many Autistic people never confiding in anyone about the physical or sexual violence they experienced (Gibbs et al.). The National Autism Society’s ‘Careless’ Campaign found that Autistic people commonly experienced abuse and/or coercion from people they considered friends, as well as the theft of their money or possessions, with many remaining home to avoid such situations.
Autistic people may be unfamiliar with the different types of abuse such as sexual, physical, emotional, digital, or financial. Our project aims to help Autistic people identify the red flags of the various types of abuse in close relationships, whether with roommates, friends, intimate partners, family or caregivers. In documenting the experiences of abuse survivors in the Autistic community, it is our goal to increase the safety of Autistic people. We know that many Autistic survivors of abuse are dismissed and their experiences not taken seriously and so, after surveys have been collected and the data organized, we will host a round-table discussion of the themes identified from the surveys.
This program has been made possible through a grant from NEXT for AUTISM from the proceeds of Color the Spectrum.
We want to take a moment and thank the Autistic community for their activism last year before the Color the Spectrum event. As a result, NEXT for AUTISM reserved funds from Color the Spectrum for autistic led and centered organizations and initiatives. This project would not have been successful with your efforts, thank you.
If you are experiencing abuse and would like to get help you can text START to 88788 to contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline. You can also find local domestic violence centers at this link: