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Mexico ranks first in the world in sexual abuse, physical violence and homicide against children under 14 years of age. Child sexual abuse is the crime most committed and reported whereas the incident is highest in girls. Although there is no exact data on sexual abuse of people with autism, there is information that indicates that in people with developmental disorders in general, the risk of sexual abuse is doubled (Mansell, Sobsey, and Moskal, 1998).

Child sexual violence: It is any contact of a sexual nature, between a girl, boy or adolescent in order to stimulate the sexuality of the person who carries it out (adult, adolescent). It is an action of use of power that transgresses the autonomy and bodily and emotional integrity perpetuated against girls, boys and adolescents (ADIVAC).

*Inform the affected person about their right to report the acts of violence that occur.

Sexual violence consists of:

● Showing pornography

● Exhibition of the naked or semi-naked body, with premeditation, treachery and taking advantage of the girl, boy or adolescent sexually

● Contact with the body of the child or adolescent

● Making them touch the body of the abuser.

*Secrecy sustains abuse, generates intimidation and guilt, as well as complicity and impunity.

Definitions of the Mexican penal code

Rape: Those who copulate with a person of any sex through physical or moral violence. Sexual Abuse: Those who, without the purpose of getting to copulation, carry out a sexual act on a person under twelve years of age or person who does not have the ability to understand the meaning of the fact.

Rape, Article 180: Whoever copulates with a person over twelve and under eighteen years of age, obtaining their consent through any type of deception Incest, Article 181: To siblings and to the ascendants or consanguineous descendants in a straight line who with knowledge of their kinship have copulation with each other.

PROCEDURE FOR THE DETECTION AND ATTENTION TO THE SEXUAL CRIME IN AUTISM Corruption of minors and incapacitated, Article 183: To who by any means, procures, induces or facilitates that a minor person or who does not have the capacity to understand the meaning of the fact, perform acts of corporal exhibitionism, lewd or sexual intercourse, prostitution, drunkenness, consumption of drugs or hallucinogens', sexual practices, etc. Child pornography, Article 187: Minor video recording, photography or exhibition through the media.

Autism and sexual abuse: Individuals with autism face social, communication and behavioral challenges that affect their interaction in an environment largely designed for neurotypical people. Some of the challenges in communication and socialization can be interpreted as vulnerabilities that can be used to attack the person. For some people on the spectrum, it can be difficult to identify other people's emotions through their body language. Dennis, Lokcyer, and Lazanby (2000) found that children with high functioning autism showed less ability to understand deceptive body expressions and understood less, the reasons why someone would display deceptive behavior, compared to neurotypical children of their age and gender. In addition to the challenges of socialization and recognition of emotions, children with autism present communication challenges. Scientific evidence indicates that 50% of children with ASD are not verbal (APA, 2000). Although there are augmentative and alternative communication methods, being non-verbal increases people's vulnerability by becoming a more tempting target for bullies. On the other hand, parents and caregivers of children on the autism spectrum experience high levels of stress and anxiety, which can vary throughout the life cycle, according to the acceptance of the diagnosis and the development challenges of the child or adolescent (Hall, H and Graff, C. 2011). This implies that they have a greater tendency to experience situations of domestic violence, which can include psychological and physical aggression, neglect and/or omission. These experiences increase the vulnerability of the child or adolescent in becoming a victim of sexual violence and other forms of aggression by other family members or third parties and diminishes the capacity for prevention and timely intervention of sexual abuse.

Statistics: The National Public Radio (NPR) in the United States conducted a study to examine the prevalence of sexual harassment and abuse among people with intellectual disabilities, the most relevant data indicates that:

● People with intellectual disabilities are sexually assaulted 7 times more often than those without this condition

● The aggressors are usually known people and the aggression occurs during the day

● The reasons for assaulting someone with an intellectual disability lies in the ease of handling them and their difficulty in bearing witness of the act. This means that many of the sexual crimes committed are not detected or punished.

● Police and lawyers commonly refuse to take these cases, due to their high difficulty in winning in court.

Prevention measures

Sex education in people with autism is extremely relevant. it is necessary that parents are the ones who teach this subject to their children, also by the hand of a therapist or specialist in child behavior. Children and adolescents with autism have difficulty learning social skills from their peers, teaching materials and self-help books. People with autism must recognize the difference between appropriate and inappropriate behavior. It is necessary to focus on teaching:

1. Recognition of body parts with appropriate names

2. Restriction of nudity in private spaces such as the bathroom and own rooms

3. Independence in dressing and undressing

4. Independence to go to the bathroom, cleaning and washing up

5. Understanding privacy and denial of help from any adult, in personal care situations

6. Allowing themselves to explore and enjoy contact with their own bodies

7. Recognition of private parts and parts of the body used for social contact

8. Setting limits on their bodies from others and that of others from them

9. Educating them on appropriate and inappropriate secrets

10. Closing doors when entering the bathroom or your room

11. Independent use of public toilets

It is necessary to be clear about the level of functioning of the person so that, based on this, the sexuality content that can be learned can be chosen, or if the intervention will focus only on the development of skills or on behavior modeling (Arroyo Estrada , N. 2018).

Specific indicators of sexual violence

● Testimony

● Physical discomfort (lacerations in the genital and / or anal area, urinary tract infections, constipation, STIs, pregnancy)

● Reluctance to get close to any particular person, excessive attachment to parents or caregivers

● Regression in behaviors, habits, routines, stages of development

● Eroticization / Hyper-sexualization: repetition of adult sexual behaviors, masturbation, shame, drawings of genitalia, sexual games

● Selective mutism

● Night terrors

● Depression

● Anxiety

● Irritability

● Evasion of places

● Difficulty sitting or walking

● Difficulty staying alone

When a person with autism is sexually abused, their defense mechanisms try to make sense of the situation, which can lead them to intensify self-regulation movements, self-aggression, repetitive behaviors, or the development of new behaviors.

Nonspecific indicators of sexual abuse

● Abrupt behavior modification

● Emotional ambivalence, guilt, crying for no apparent reason, suicidal thoughts, depression, anxiety

● Enuresis-encopresis

● Trouble sleeping, insomnia, nightmares

● Hypervigilance, irritability, feeling dirty, aggressiveness and self-harm

● Disorientation or dissociation, delusions, psychotic crisis

● Difficulty relating, greater isolation and refusal to be with other people

● Poor school performance

● Use of sexual phrases

● Psychosomatic illnesses (gastritis, colitis, skin alterations, alopecia)

Some of the aforementioned indicators can be confused with developmental stages. It is imperative to have a broad knowledge of the person in order to make appropriate differentiations.

What to do?

Discovering that someone close to you suffers from sexual abuse can be a devastating experience, for this you can follow the following recommendations:

● Keep calm

● Listen and interpret what your child is trying to communicate

● Be attentive and understanding with the child

● Ask for help immediately with your closest support networks such as your partner, family, therapeutic team, etc.

Attention in cases of sexual violence:

● Psychological

● Medical

● Legal

● Psychiatry

The intervention must integrate respect for human rights, gender perspective and good treatment.

Mechanisms established by the Mexican state for the development and harmonious coexistence in childhood

● Best interests of the child

● Non-discrimination

● Protection

● Decent treatment Directory of care


1. ADIVAC, Association for the Comprehensive Development of Raped Persons, A. C. Address: Salvador Díaz Mirón 140 Santa María La Ribera, Cuauhtémoc, Mexico City, DF, Mexico. Between Sabino and Naranjo, two blocks from the Alameda de Santa María. Telephones: 5682 7969, 5547 8639. Fax 5543 4700 E-mail: Services: medical, legal and psychological care for people who have experienced some type of sexual violence (girls, boys, adolescents, women and men).

2. Center for Support Therapy for Victims of Sexual Crimes CTA Mtra. Bárbara Ruíz Martínez Telephone numbers: 55 1959 5128, 55 5200 9636

3. National Institute for Women, Barranca del Muerto 209, San José Insurgentes, Mexico City. C.P. 03900 Attention to citizens: Telephone: (55) 5322-6030

4. Red Cross, Police and Firefighters for family violence and urgent cases Telephone: 911 National Coverage

5. National network of shelters Telephone: 567496

6. Lcda. María Ofelia López Aquino Director of the Justice Center for Women of Mexico City, Azcapotzalco headquarters Telephone: 55 5346 837055 5346 8394 Avenida San Pablo Xalpa No. 396 almost at the corner of Eje 5 Mayor's Office Azcapotzalco, Norte Col. San Martin Xochinahuac , CP 02920, Mexico City

7. Central Prosecutor's Office for Investigation for Attention to Sexual Crimes PGJDF Calle Gral. Gabriel Hernández # 56 Colonia Doctores, Zip Code 06720, Cuauhtémoc City Hall, Mexico City. Phones: 01 (55) 5346 08206, 5346 08205, 5346 5143, 5346 08116

8. Special Prosecutor's Office for Crimes of Violence against Women and Human Trafficking (FEVIMTRA) Av. Insurgentes No. 20, de la Glorieta de los Insurgentes, Colonia Roma Norte, Cuauhtémoc, 06700 Mexico City Telephone: 55 5346 2516

9. Center for Victimological Research and Operational Support (CIVA), Licda. Santa Phones: 55 3899 9765, 55 5345 5055 santa_hernandez @@ Victims of threats and people generating family violence

10. Center for Attention to Victim Risks and Addictions (CARIVA), Mtro. Mauro Efrén Ponce López Telephone numbers: 55 8429 1863, 55 5000 9166 Men victims of family violence, women, men, young people and older adults victims of discrimination, bullying, as well as minors at risk.

11. Center for Attention to Intrafamily Violence (CAVI), Mtra. Martha Patricia Hernández Ortínez Telephone numbers: 55 1112 4161, 55 5345 5224

PROCEDURE FOR THE DETECTION AND ATTENTION TO SEXUAL CRIME IN AUTISM based on the series Women, girls and boys, victims of family violence Prepared by: Abriendo Posibilidades by

Ms. Karen García Alday MSc., Ms. Seidy Luisa Choreño Rico BSc., and Ms. Yosedil Ferrer Machado MSc. and translated from its original Spanish by Mr. Biokrobo S. Wokoma

Sources Cited: ADIVAC. Association for the Integral Development of Violated People, A.C. Retrieved from: Accessed July 20, 2020. Arroyo Estrada, Nadia (2018). Sexuality and Autism. Knowledge and Multidimensional Intervention of ASD. Magazine number 23. Retrieved from: Accessed July 19, 2020. American Psychiatric Association. (2000). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (4th ed., Rev. Text). doi: 10.1176 / appi.books.9780890423349. Autism Speaks (2020). Recognizing and preventing sexual abuse. Retrieved from: Consulted on July 20, 2020. Federal Criminal Code of the United Mexican States. Retrieved from: 6_2017.pdf. Accessed July 20, 2020. Dennis, Maureen and Lockyer, Linda and Lazenby, Anne. (2000). How High-Functioning Children with Autism Understand Real and Deceptive Emotion. Autism. 4. 370-381. 10.1177 / 1362361300004004003. Hall, Heather and Graff, Carolyn (2011). The relationships among adaptive behaviors of childrens with autism, family support, parenting stress and coping. Issues in comprehensive pediatric nursing. 34 (1), 4-25. Mansell S, Sobsey D, Moskal R. (1988). Clinical findings among sexually abused children with and without developmental disabilities. Ment Retard. 36 (1): 12-22. doi: 10.1352 / 0047- 6765 (1998) 036 <0012: CFASAC> 2.0.CO; 2. National Public Radio (2020). Abused and Betrayed series. Retrieved from: Accessed July 20, 2020

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