Welcome to the National Center for Victims of Crime

We are the nation's leading resource and advocacy organization for crime victims and those who serve them. Please join us as we forge a national commitment to help victims of crime rebuild their lives.

Responding to Crime Victims with Disabilities

Resource Directory for Service Providers

CRIME VICTIMS WITH DISABILITIES

 

Abuse and Neglect of Adults with Developmental Disabilities: A Public Health Priority for the State of California

Protection and Advocacy, Inc. (2003), 59 pages
Report, written collaboratively by Protection and Advocacy, Inc., State Council on Developmental Disabilities, USC University Affiliated Program, and The Tarjan Center for Developmental Disabilities, UCLA, describing the nature and extent of abuse and neglect of persons with developmental disabilities and identifies the systemic issues underlying the increased risk for victimization of this population. Major findings and recommendations are presented and discussed.
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Accessing Safety: Innovative Resources to Improve Services

Vera Institute of Justice
Website of the Accessing Safety Initiative helps organizations and communities meet the needs of women with disabilities and Deaf women who are victims or survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking. Includes guides for collaboration, needs assessments, and strategic planning; resources on disability and the Deaf culture; resources on accessibility; and information about understanding and responding to violence.
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Assisting Victims and Witnesses with Disabilities in the Criminal Justice System: A Curriculum for Law Enforcement Officers (with Trainer’s Guide)

Institute on Disabilities, Temple University (2002), 98 pages, $15
Training module providing law enforcement officers a basic understanding of mental retardation and the impact it has on an individual’s ability to interact with criminal justice personnel. It is designed to enhance an officer’s ability to respond more effectively to victims of crime, as well as witnesses and suspects, who have mental retardation and other developmental disabilities. It includes both knowledge and skill components.
Visit the Institute on Disabilities at Temple University for more information or to order.

Autism Fact Sheets

Autism Society
Series of fact sheets and brochures promoting a better response to crime victims with disabilities. Fact sheets on autism are available for police, paramedics, child abuse counselors, domestic violence and sexual assault counselors, attorneys, and social workers. They have also developed two brochures, one for crime victims with autism and another for their family members. You will be asked to register online for free access to these fact sheets.
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Balancing the Power—Creating a Crisis Center Accessible to People with Disabilities

SafePlace, $50
Step-by-step guide for domestic violence and sexual assault centers designed to promote collaboration to provide accessible services to abuse survivors with disabilities. The guide includes an overview of various forms of disability, tips for working with people with disabilities, the Americans with Disabilities Act, and changing protocols that pose barriers to service.
Visit SafePlace for more information or to order.

Beyond Labels—Working with Abuse Survivors with Mental Illness Symptoms or Substance Abuse Issues 

SafePlace, $50
Manual providing practical information, tools, and resources for domestic violence and rape crisis center staff working with survivors of trauma with symptoms of mental illness and/or substance abuse/addiction.
Visit SafePlace for more information or to order.

Crime against People with Disabilities

Bureau of Justice Statistics (2010), 16 pages, NCJ 231328
Report from the 2008 National Crime Victimization Survey including many statistical tables regarding victimization of persons with disabilities. Includes violent and property crimes and various forms of disability.
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Visit NCJRS
for abstract or to order.

Crime against Persons with Disabilities, 2008-2010—Statistical Tables

Bureau of Justice Statistics (2011), 20 pages, NCJ 235777
Tables presenting estimates from the National Crime Victimization Survey of nonfatal violent victimization (rape, sexual assault, robbery, aggravated and simple assault) against persons age 12 or older with disabilities, from 2008 to 2010.
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Crime Victimization in Adults with Severe Mental Illness: Comparison with the National Crime Victimization Survey

Linda A. Teplin, PhD, Gary M. McClelland, PhD, Karen M. Abram, PhD, and Dana A. Weiner, PhD, Arch Gen Psychiatry, 2005 August, 62(8): 911-921
Study seeking to determine the rates of crime victimization among persons with severe mental illness by sex, race/ethnicity, and age, to compare rates with general population data taken from the National Crime Victimization Survey.
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Crime Victims with Developmental Disabilities: A Review Essay

Sage Publications (2001), 41 pages
Research article by Joan Petersilia summarizes research on crimes against children and adults with developmental disabilities. It includes an examination of the nature and scope of victimization, research regarding risk factors, the criminal justice response, and research and policy implications.
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Detecting and Reporting Abuse

SafePlace, 1 page
List of possible signs or indicators of abuse of children or adults with disabilities, as guidance for mandated reporters and others.
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Disability Services ASAP Informational Fact Sheets

SafePlace
37 fact sheets on a range of issues relating to victims with disabilities, including such topics as Dynamics of Caregiver Abuse, General Information about Domestic Violence & Persons with Mental Illness, and Inquiring about Abuse Experiences; many available in Spanish or on audio tape. Single copies can be ordered free of charge.
Visit SafePlace for list of topics or to order.

FAQs about Serving Victims with Disabilities

SafePlace
Answers to frequently asked questions (FAQs) about sexual assault, domestic violence and caregiver abuse against people with disabilities.
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First Response to Victims of Crime: A Guidebook for Law Enforcement Officers

Office for Victims of Crime, U.S. Department of Justice (2010), 98 pages, NCJ 231171
Educational package, produced by the National Sheriffs' Association, looking at the impact of crime on victims and describes steps that law enforcement can take, as first responders, to meet victims' needs. Among the topics included are the special needs of victims with disabilities.
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Visit NCJRS
for abstract or to order.

Gaining Insight, Taking Action: Basic Skills for Serving Victims

Office for Victims of Crime, U.S. Department of Justice (2011), 89 pages, NCJ 232780
Discussion guide and 55-minute DVD including segments on victims who are Deaf or hard of hearing and victims with disabilities.
PDF – Discussion Guide
HTML (WMV) | HTML (Quicktime) – “Listen to My Story”
HTML (WMV) | HTML (Quicktime) – Substance Abuse”
HTML (WMV) | HTML (Quicktime) – “Underserved Victims”
Visit NCJRS for abstract or to order package.

“I Spoke Out” Awareness Campaign

New York State Office for Persons with Developmental Disabilities
Internal staff campaign, “I Spoke Out,” encourages OPWDD employees to report abuse and neglect. Poster and palm card available.
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People with Intellectual Disabilities and Sexual Violence

The Arc (2009), 3 pages
Overview discussing why sexual violence is common among people with intellectual disabilities, risk factors, effects, available treatment, preventing sexual violence, and how to help a victim.
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Power and Control Wheel and Respect Wheel

SafePlace
Adaptation of the domestic violence power and control wheel and equality wheel incorporating the intimate partner experiences of men and women with disabilities. These wheels can be used as a training tool.
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PDF
– Power Wheel
PDF – Respect Wheel  

Promising Practices for Serving Crime Victims with Disabilities Bulletin and Toolkit

Office for Victims of Crime, U.S. Department of Justice (2008), bulletin 15 pages, NCJ 223965; toolkit 7 pages, NCJ 223966
Bulletin and toolkit providing a snapshot of the scope and dynamics of an OVC-funded demonstration project. With technical assistance and monitoring from SafePlace, 10 agencies throughout the U.S. worked to improve the local response of criminal justice personnel and victim services providers to people with disabilities. Sections address collaborating, conducting a needs assessment, making a plan, implementing the plan, continued listening to the community, and sustainability.
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HTML – Toolkit

Prosecutor Sexual Assault Protocol: Resource Guide for Drafting or Revising Tribal Prosecutor Protocols on Responding to Sexual Assault

Tribal Law and Policy Institute and Southwest Center for Law and Policy (2008), 67 pages
Guide for tribal prosecution of sexual assault including information on responding to tribal victims with disabilities.
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Protect, Report, Preserve: Abuse against Persons with Disabilities

Massachusetts Building Partnerships Initiative, video 25 minutes, manual 42 pages
Video and accompanying training manual designed to assist Massachusetts service providers to train employees to recognize and report abuse against persons with disabilities. 
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Video
For more information or to order a free copy of the DVD and manual, e-mail pm@buildingpartnershipsma.com or call 617-727-6465 x234.

Responding to Violent Crimes against Persons with Disabilities: A Manual for Law Enforcement, Prosecutors, Judges, and Court Personnel

SafePlace, $50
Manual providing tools and information to help criminal justice system professionals more effectively respond to, investigate, and prosecute crimes against people with disabilities.
Visit SafePlace for more information or to order.

Serving Crime Victims with Disabilities

Office for Victims of Crime, U.S. Department of Justice (2007), NCJ 213366
DVD presenting two popular award-winning videos, "Meet Us Where We Are" and "The Time Is Now," originally produced in December 2002 and no longer available in VHS form. "The Time Is Now" helps crime victim service providers reach out and serve people with disabilities. "Meet Us Where We Are," which presents first-person accounts of how crime affects people with disabilities, educates disability service providers and people with disabilities about crime victims' rights and resources.
Visit OVC to view a description, watch video clips, or order the DVD.

Both videos are also available on You Tube:
HTML  – How Crime Affects People with Disabilities, Part I. (Originally “Meet Us Where We Are”)
HTML  – How Crime Affects People with Disabilities, Part II. (Originally “The Time Is Now”)

Special Collection: Violence in the Lives of the Deaf or Hard of Hearing

VAWnet
Extensive resource collection includes:

  • a range of materials on Deaf culture, oppression, etiquette, accessibility in a victim service setting, training tools, and more;
  • an overview of best practices in using interpreters and working with Deaf victims/survivors of sexual assault or domestic violence; and 
  • links to organizations serving Deaf victims/survivors.

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Stop the Violence, Break the Silence Training Guide and Resource Kit

SafePlace, $170
Curriculum and kit providing replicable models and tools to build prevention, education, and intervention programs for people with disabilities within a domestic violence, sexual assault, or disability service agency. Full training package includes 6-module training guide, resource kit, and closed caption video. 
Visit SafePlace for more information or to order.

Supporting People with Disabilities: Advocacy Strategies for Legal Advocates

Washington Coalition of Sexual Assault Programs (2004), 14 pages
Pamphlet designed for legal advocates working with people who have one or more disabilities and who have experienced sexual assault. Sections include advocacy tips, information and referrals, criminal justice strategies, and more.
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Understanding the Needs of the Victims of Sexual Assault in the Deaf Community

Council on Crime and Justice (2005), 115 pages, NCJ 212867
Study of the opinions of service providers for Deaf sexual assault victims and members of the Deaf community, which sought to identify service gaps and ways law enforcement agencies can be a more effective resource for Deaf victims.
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Visit NCJRS
for abstract or to order a copy.

Victims with Disabilities: Collaborative, Multidisciplinary First Response: Techniques for First Responders Called to Help Crime Victims Who Have Disabilities

Office for Victims of Crime, U.S. Department of Justice (2011) DVD 72 minutes, guidebook 70 pages, NCJ 231932
Training DVD and guidebook, developed under the guidance of a national advisory board, demonstrating effective techniques for first responders who have been called to the scene of a crime in which the victim has a disability. It not only provides guidelines for interacting with adult and adolescent victims of crime who have communication and/or intellectual disabilities, but also helps law enforcement personnel gain a deeper understanding of the lives, personal attributes, and abilities of individuals with disabilities.
PDF – Guidebook
Video – WMV Video Clip
Video – QuickTime Video Clip
Visit NCJRS for abstract or to order the package.

Victims with Disabilities: The Forensic Interview—Techniques for Interviewing Victims with Communication and/or Cognitive Disabilities

Office for Victims of Crime, U.S. Department of Justice (2012), DVD 56 minutes, trainer’s guide 72 pages, NCJ 234678
Training DVD, developed under the guidance of a national advisory board, demonstrates effective techniques for first responders who have been called to the scene of a crime in which the victim has a disability. It not only provides guidelines for interacting with adult and adolescent victims of crime who have communication and/or intellectual disabilities, but also helps law enforcement personnel gain a deeper understanding of the lives, personal attributes, and abilities of individuals with disabilities. A trainer's guide accompanies this video.
PDF – Guidebook
Video – WMV Video Clip
Video – QuickTime Video Clip
Visit NCJRS for abstract or to order the package.

We Can Do Better: Supporting Crime Victims with Disabilities

National Center for Victims of Crime (2006), 5 pages
Article by Olegario D. Cantos IV written when he was serving as special counsel to the assistant attorney general for the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice. It first appeared in the National Center for Victims of Crime’s publication NETWORKS.
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WV S.A.F.E. Training and Collaboration Toolkit—Serving Sexual Violence Victims with Disabilities

West Virginia Sexual Assault Free Environment (2010), 329 pages
Toolkit including sections on collaboration, sexual violence, and disabilities, as well as tools to increase access. Tools relate to programmatic and policy accessibility, facility accessibility, intake practices review, and developing a transition plan. Each section includes a toolkit user’s guide.
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