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Working With Victims of Crime With Disabilities

NCJ Number
Date Published
16 pages
Stemming from the "Symposium on Working with Crime Victims with Disabilities," held January 23-24, 1998, in Arlington Va., this paper identifies the distinctive needs of crime victims with disabilities and offers recommendations for how such victims can be better served by the networking of criminal justice and social service agencies.
Historically, all crime victims have been denied full participation in the criminal justice processing of their cases. Crime victims with disabilities and their families have been particularly disadvantaged. Advocates for disabled persons report that crimes against people with disabilities are often not reported to police. Of those that lead to an investigation and an arrest, very few are prosecuted. When going through the criminal justice process, few victims with disabilities are contacted by a crime victim advocate, and often when victim services are provided, they may be inappropriate due to the inadequate training of victim service providers. Persons with disabilities have a higher risk of being criminally victimized than persons without a disability, and they face a greater risk of being revictimized, often by a caregiver or family member; consequently, victims may not be in a position to report the crime without fear of retaliation from the care provider. In offering recommendations to criminal justice agencies and victim service programs, this bulletin focuses on physical accessibility to criminal justice proceedings, networking and cross-training among criminal justice personnel and those who work with disabled persons, and the provision of direct services. Specific recommendations are given for national, State, and local disability rights specialists; for the U.S. Justice Department's Office for Victims of Crime; and for other Justice Department Agencies. Twelve promising victim assistance programs for disabled victims are briefly described. 22 annotated resources

Date Published: January 1, 1998