Crime Victimization andDisabilities Dan L. Petersen, Ph.D Joint Center on Violence and Victim Studies Washburn University
“The basis of people’s lives with one anotheris twofold, and it is one– the wish of eachperson to be confirmed as what each personis, even as what that person can become;and the innate capacity in each person toconfirm others in this way…..…… actual humanity exists only where thiscapacity unfolds.” Martin Buber
Communication and Respect Person first language Be Respectful If a person uses a chair, get permission before touching it If the person uses a working dog, ask permission before interacting with the dog Ask if a person would like your help Address the person and not their care attendant or translator
Disabilities – backgroundinformation It is estimated that 54 million Americans have some form of disability. Approximately 1 in 5 have some kind of disability that interferes with functioning With 1 in 10 having a severe disability
For each disability group or type,different dynamics of abuse and crimecome into play.
Bureau of Justice Statistics:National Crime Victimization Survey First National study on crime victims with disabilities – October, 2009 Primary Finding: Age-adjusted rate of nonfatal violent crime was 1.5 times higher that rate for persons without disabilities
BJS - NCVS Females with a disability had higher victimization rates (opposite of crime rate for people without a disability) Nearly 1 in 5 violent crime victims with a disability believed they became a victim because of their disability Violent crime victims, with or without a disability were equally likely to face an armed offender
Statistics People with developmental disabilities are four to ten times more likely to be victims of crimes than are people without disabilities. Wilons and Brewer, 1992 Violence and abuse issues were rated the number one priority by women with disabilities. Berkely Planning Association, 1996
People with developmental disabilities are notonly more likely to be sexually victimized,they are more likely to be repeatedlyvictimized. Sobsey, 1994Children with disabilities were 2.1 times aslikely to endure criminal physical abuse and1.8 times more likely to experience sexualabuse than children without disabilities. Crosse, Kaye, and Ratnofsky, 1993
54% of boys who have a severehearing impairment and 50% of girlswho have a severe hearing impairmenthave been sexually abused. Stimpson and Best, 199110% of consumers of attendant careservices have been abused; 40% havebeen victims of theft. Ulnicy, 1990
In one study, thirteen (13%) of womenwith physical disabilities describedexperiencing physical abuse in thepast year. Colorado Task Group, 1994
In one study, researchers reported ahistory of sexual abuse among 25% ofadolescent girls with mental retardationsurveyed. Nosek, et al., 1995
Women with disabilities were more likely thanwomen without disabilities to experienceabuse by health care providers.Women with disabilities were abused by agreater number of perpetrators than womenwithout disabilities.Women with physical disabilities were morelikely to experience more intense patterns ofabuse over their lifetimes than womenwithout disabilities. Nosek, et al., 1995
Women with disabilities reportedsignificantly longer durations ofphysical abuse or sexual abusecompared to women withoutdisabilities (3.9 yrs. versus 2.5 yrs.) Nosek, Rintala, Young, Howland, Foley, Rossi, & Chanpong, 1995 Responding to Rural Crime Victimization
In spite of high percentages, fewwomen with disabilities receivetreatment from victim servicesspecialists. Andrews & Veronen, 1993 Responding to Rural Crime Victimization
Domestic Violence One survey of 598 battered women’s programs showed: Programs were least likely to serve women with visual or hearing impairments. The most common disability was mental illness. For nearly half the programs, less that 1% of the women served had physical disabilities Only 35% of the programs offered disability awareness training for their staff 49% of the programs reported that the most effective outreach service for making women with disabilities aware of their services was community presentations, but only 16% offered such outreach services
Reporting issues Women with disabilities are less likely to report abuse because: Have limited job opportunities and lack the means with which to support themselves independently Lack shelter, housing options, or transportation May experience extreme isolation fostered by society’s attitudes of segregation The experience of having a disability significantly impacts their ability to become and remain socially and economically independent Society often questions the ability of a person with a disability to parent effectively
Complications in Reporting Believability Health related issues Income/employability Finances (credit history) Personal assistance needs Child custody Housing Transportation Legal system difficulties Speech and cognition difficulties Judged too rapidly
Areas of potential crime orabuse often overlooked Withholding medication Withholding personal care services Withholding needed medical equipment like walkers, canes, wheelchairs, etc. Causing physical pain during routines of daily living Physically restraining the person Making the individual lie in their own waste or remain unwashed/bathed Withholding benefits/money or controlling the person’s finances Using personal items or property without permission
What constitutes a crime? What is the difference between abuse and a crime? Webster Dict. – Abuse: “to treat badly, mistreat, maltreatment, etc.” Crime: “a grave offense, an act punishable by law, forbidden, etc.” Can we identify possible abuses/crimes that law enforcement may not immediately recognize as a crime?
Children with disabilitieshave a right to: Be told the truth Be believed Have their disability kept in perspective Have their own life and privacy afforded to all children Be protected Be a child
Services Make shelters for battered women fully accessible, including barrier-free access to sleeping rooms and common areas, architectural features that comply with the ADA legislation, visual and auditory alaRMs systems, and TDDs for telephone communication
Provide, or refer to, legal assistancefor obtaining restraining orders andmanaging court systems which areaccessible to persons with disabilities
Assist and encourage police inrecording disability status in their crimereports, as well as , encouragingadoption of a separate category forperpetrators who are caregivers
Offer training to disability-relatedservice providers, includingindependent living centers andchurches, on recognizing thesymptoms of abuse and thecharacteristics of potential batterers.
Train staff or learn how tocommunicate with persons who havehearing, cognitive, speech, orpsychiatric impairments. They shouldunderstand environmental barriersfaced by persons with physical andsensory disabilities when offeringadvice or referrals for obtaining shelter.
Question the equality of allservices Question the equality of all services Is there equal protection? Is there equal access? Are services equal?
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