Decide What You Want To Know
It’s a pretty simple concept, but very easy to forget: Ask what you want to know, and go to the source for the information you seek. The pilot sites primarily wanted to know three things:
- Why don’t community members with disabilities or people who are Deaf report crimes?
- How do disability, Deaf, victim service, medical, and law enforcement agencies in our community respond to crime victims with disabilities or people who are Deaf?
- How can service systems be more responsive to crime victims with disabilities or Deaf crime victims?
To get that information, they developed the following types of questions for their community needs assessment plans:
- What stops people from reporting abuse and victimization?
- What experiences have crime victims with disabilities or those who are Deaf had with local victim service agencies such as domestic violence/sexual assault agencies, disability service providers, and the criminal justice system?
- What do service providers need to know to support crime victims with disabilities or those who are Deaf?
- What stops service providers (e.g., police, disability services, victim service agencies) from providing services to crime victims with disabilities or those who are Deaf?
- How can our agency improve services and be more accessible to persons with disabilities and people who are Deaf?
- How can law enforcement, victim services, disability and Deaf service agencies, persons with disabilities, and people who are Deaf work together to improve services?
- What information could improve a service provider’s response to crime victims with disabilities or those who are Deaf?
- How should violence against persons with disabilities be handled? Why?
This last question may be especially important in states that legally require certain professions (and sometimes, all citizens) to report known or suspected abuse against persons with disabilities to authorities, as many law enforcement and criminal justice systems mistakenly believe that all abuse of persons with disabilities should be handled by adult protective services. Contact your state’s adult protective services agency to find out about your state’s laws, and your legal responsibility, for reporting abuse against persons with disabilities.