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Disabilities and Victimization PDF icon


Persons with disabilities are victimized by crime at much higher rates than the rest of the population, and they are often targeted specifically because of their disabilities. Violent crimes against these victims, the majority of whom are over 50,[1] include rape/sexual assault, robbery, aggravated assault, and intimate partner violence. As compared to other population groups, victims with disabilities experience higher rates of victimization by persons known to them, and they report crime less frequently, often because of the nature of their disabilities, such as mental disabilities or physical or emotional illness. Responding to crime victims with disabilities poses unique challenges to the criminal justice system, which is often not equipped to meet their needs.

  • In 2010, the age-adjusted violent victimization rate for persons with disabilities (28 violent victimizations per 1,000) was almost twice the rate among persons without disabilities (15 violent victimizations per 1,000).[2]
  • Chart: Violent crime against persons with and without disabilitiesFrom 2008 to 2010, the age-adjusted rate of violent crime against persons with disabilities decreased by 30 percent from 40 per 1,000 to 28 per 1,000. By comparison, the rate of violent crime against persons without disabilities decreased by 25 percent from 20 per 1,000 in 2008 to about 15 per 1,000 in 2010.[3]
  • In 2010, for both males and females, the age-adjusted rate of violent crime was greater for those with disabilities than the rate for those without disabilities. The rate for males with disabilities was 26 per 1,000, compared to 16 per 1,000 for males without disabilities; for females with disabilities, the rate was 29 per 1,000, compared to 15 per 1,000 for females without disabilities.[4]
  • In 2010, offenders were strangers to the victim in 33 percent of violent victimizations against persons with disabilities, compared to 41 percent of violent victimizations against persons without disabilities.[5]
  • In 2010, intimate partner violence accounted for 13 percent of violence against persons with disabilities, similar to the percentage of violence against persons without disabilities, which is 14 percent.[6]
  • The rate of aggravated assault reported against persons with disabilities in 2008 was 6.6 per 1,000. That number increased to 7.0 in 2009 and increased again in 2010 to 8.3.[7]
  • In 2010, among the disability types measured, persons with cognitive disabilities had the[8]
  • Between 2008 and 2010, reported instances of rape/sexual assault against persons with a disability declined by 13 percent.[9]
  • In 2008, 15 percent of child victims of abuse or neglect had a reported disability.[10]
  • In 2010, about 41 percent of the violent victimizations against persons with disabilities were reported to police, compared to about 53 percent of victimizations against persons without disabilities.[11]
  • Chart: Crimes reported to law enforcement by victim disability statusIn 2010, persons with disabilities reported to the police 39 percent of robberies and 40 percent of aggravated assaults. Persons without disabilities reported much higher percentages of these crimes: 63 percent of robberies and 65 percent of aggravated assaults.[12]
  • Among persons with disabilities, the percentage of violence in which the victim faced an armed offender increased from 20 percent in 2008 to 30 percent in 2010.[13] The offender was armed with a firearm in about 14 percent of victimizations involving persons with disabilities, compared to 8 percent of victimizations against those without disabilities in 2010.[14]
  • In 2007, about 19 percent of violent crime victims with a disability said they believed they had been victimized because of their disability.[15]
  • In 2010, a total of 46 anti-disability hate crimes were reported. Twenty-two were motivated by bias against persons with physical disabilities and 24 by bias against those with mental disabilities.[16]]
  • More than one-half of violent crimes against people with a disability were against those with multiple disabilities.[17]
  • In 2010, a total of 43 anti-disability-biased incidents were reported. Of the 43 incidents, 39 were committed against an individual, 1 against a business, 1 against society, and 2 against “other/unknown/multiple.”[18]
  • Chart: Anti-disabilitiy offenses by disability typeOf the 22 reported offenses against those with physical disabilities in 2010, 4 were aggravated assault, 8 simple assault, 5 intimidation, 1 classified as “other” crime against person, 3 larceny/theft, and 1 crime against society. Of the 24 offenses against those with mental disabilities, 2 were aggravated assault, 12 simple assault, 3 robbery, 1 burglary, 4 larceny/theft, 1 destruction of property/vandalism, and 1 classified as “other” crime against property.[19]
  • Between 2003 and 2009, 33 percent of hate crimes were targeted at people with disabilities, compared to 51 percent of hate crimes that were motivated by ethnic bias, 47 percent due to bias against the victim’s associations witih persons having particular characteristics, and 46 percent based on bias against the victim’s perceived characteristics.[20]

References

  1. Erika Harrell, Crime Against Persons with Disabilities, 2008-2010 - Statistical Tables, (Washington, DC: Bureau of Justice Statistics, U.S. Department of Justice, 2011), 2, accessed October 17, 2012, http://bjs.ojp.usdoj.gov/content/pub/pdf/capd10st.pdf.
  2. Ibid., 3.
  3. Ibid., calculated from data on p. 3.
  4. Ibid.
  5. Ibid., 4.
  6. Ibid.
  7. Ibid., 7.
  8. Ibid., 4.
  9. Ibid., calculated from data in Table 1, 1.
  10. Administration on Children, Youth, and Families, Child Maltreatment, 2008, (Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2010), 27, accessed October 16, 2012, http://archive.acf.hhs.gov/programs/cb/pubs/cm08/cm08.pdf.
  11. Harrell, Crime Against Persons with Disabilities, 5.
  12. Ibid., 11.
  13. Ibid., 5.
  14. Ibid.
  15. Michael R. Rand and Erika Harrell, Crime Against People with Disabilities, 2007, (Washington, DC: Bureau of Justice Statistics, U.S. Department of Justice, 2009), 4, accessed October 16, 2012, http://bjs.ojp.usdoj.gov/content/pub/pdf/capd07.pdf.
  16. Federal Bureau of Investigation, Hate Crime Statistics, 2010, (Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Justice, 2011), Table 1, accessed October 25, 2012, http://www.fbi.gov/about-us/cjis/ucr/hate-crime/2010/tables/table-1-incidents-offenses-victims-and-known-offenders-by-bias-motivation-2010.xls.
  17. Rand and Harrell, Crime Against People with Disabilities, 2007, 4.
  18. Federal Bureau of Investigation, Hate Crime Statistics, 2010, Table 8, accessed October 25, 2012, http://www.fbi.gov/about-us/cjis/ucr/hate-crime/2010/tables/table-8-incidents-victim-type-by-bias-motivation-2010.xls.
  19. Ibid., Table 4, accessed October 25, 2012, http://www.fbi.gov/about-us/cjis/ucr/hate-crime/2010/tables/table-4-offenses-offense-type-by-bias-motivation-2010.xls.
  20. Lynn Langton and Michael Planty, Hate Crime, 2003-2009, (Washington, DC: Bureau of Justice Statistics, U.S. Department of Justice, 2011), 6, accessed October 25, 2012, http://bjs.ojp.usdoj.gov/content/pub/pdf/hc0309.pdf.