Loc: Auburn, WA, USA
First National Study Shows People with Cognitive Disabilities Have Higher Rate of Violent Crime: Worse for girls & women and for people with multiple disabilities|
by Jenifer Simpson in the JFActivist online newsletter
The first ever national study about crime against people with disabilities reveals that people with cognitive disabilities have a rate of nonfatal violent crime higher than the rates for persons with other types of disabilities. Conducted by the United States Justice Department, findings show that in 2007, persons ages 12 or older with disabilities experienced about 716,000 nonfatal violent crimes, including rape or sexual assault (47,000), robbery (79,000), aggravated assaults (114,000) and simple assaults (476,000).
Furthermore, people with cognitive disabilities also experienced about 2.3 million property crimes during the year. The report states that the risk of violence was higher for young and middle-age persons with a disability than those of similar age groups without disabilities. Violent crime against females with a disability (35 per 1,000 persons age 12 or older) was almost twice the rate for females without a disability (19 per 1,000 persons age 12 or older). More than half of violent crimes against people with disabilities were against those with more than one type of disability. Persons with cognitive disabilities had a rate of nonfatal violent crime higher than the rates for persons with other types of disabilities.
Many believe that these figures may also be an undercounting and the real incidence is higher. According to the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights (LCCR), perhaps the biggest reason for underreporting of disability-based hate crimes is that disability-based bias crimes are all too frequently mislabeled as "abuse" and are never directed from the social service or education systems to the criminal justice system. Even very serious crimes — including rape, assault, and vandalism — are too-frequently labeled "abuse."
AAPD thanks all those who worked on the gathering of statistics on crimes against people with disabilities, those who reported crime and those who prosecuted. We know that often it takes courage and persistence to stand up for ourselves against the perpetrators and to communicate with those around us who have difficulty accepting what we are saying. We urge you to continue building bridges with local police about disability concerns and to encourage reporting of all crime. Resist and respond!
Action Steps: Why not initiate or rejuvenate today local law enforcement efforts to address crime against people with disabilities using the materials below or others you may know of? For example,
•If there has been a local recent case, issue a press release and cite to these national statistics.
•Work with police community outreach officers to have shown the DOJ videos and material at roll call & other trainings.
•Conduct a local survey of “abuse” to see if these were really crimes.
•Develop a local community of interest on this issue, such as an Email listserve or group, a Facebook group, or through using other electronic social media, to post resources and to discuss strategies that lead to better handling of “abuse” cases, better reporting of incidents, and better prosecution.
•Involve interested family members of people with intellectual disabilities and public and private social service agency representatives committed to change.
•Set some goals, build and agenda and just do it!
US DOJ news release at http://bjs.ojp.usdoj.gov/content/pub/press/capd07pr.cfm
US DOJ report at http://bjs.ojp.usdoj.gov/index.cfm?ty=pbdetail&iid=2022
LCCR statement at http://www.civilrights.org/publications/hatecrimes/disabilities.html
ADA information for law enforcement http://www.ada.gov/policeinfo.htm
DOJ Videos on Police Response to people with disabilities, designed for use in police roll-call training, at http://www.ada.gov/policevideo/policebroadbandgallery.htm
Edited by Linda252 (04/01/10 11:10 PM)