The Ability:IMPACT Self-Defense curriculum (formerly known as IMPACT:Ability) teaches people with disabilities to recognize unsafe situations and respond with effective self-protective behaviors. Students learn skills that are relevant to sexual violence, attempted abduction, bullying, and harassment as well as how to assert and advocate for themselves in everyday situations.
- Refusing unwanted help or attention while commuting on public transportation
- Deflecting and escaping a bullying situation
- Assertive communication and self-advocacy
- Resisting inappropriate sexual touch from a caregiver or adult, including workplace sexual harassment
- Resisting attempted sexual assault by a dating partner or peer
- Effective communication and conflict resolution in the workplace
- Adaptive physical self-protection skills
Ability:IMPACT is evidence-based. An independent evaluation conducted by the Institute for Community Health found that the program increased Boston Public Schools students’ knowledge, self-confidence and self-protective behaviors. One-year follow-up evaluation found that many of these gains were maintained.