The next time you are in a restaurant or a shopping mall, and you see a seriously disabled person confined to a wheelchair, take a moment to ponder: what if that person were a victim of a crime? Could he or she tell someone? Would he be taken seriously? Could she handle the rigors of a court case?
Numerous studies over the past two decades show that the underreporting of crimes against people with disabilities is a major problem. These victims of wrongdoing are very unlikely to reap the full benefits of the court system. They are penalized, in a way, by:
- Inadequately trained service providers
- Lack of best practices for serving those with unique needs
- Lack of knowledge by the victims that their treatment is actually wrong
- Attitudinal prejudices against those with disabilities
- Stigmatization of the disabled
There is limited information regarding the disabled as victims. But what information there is can be horrifying:
- Adults with a developmental disability have a 4-10 times higher risk of becoming a victim.
- Children with any type of disability are more than twice as likely to be physically and/or sexually abused.
- Crimes against people with disabilities are often extremely violent and calculated to injure, control and humiliate the victim.
Many people with disabling conditions, whether physical or mental, are vulnerable because of their real or perceived inability to fight back or to flee, much less notify others or testify about the victimization. In fact, many offenders are motivated by a desire to select their prey for vulnerabilities. And that applies to abuse by the very professionals and other caregivers who provide services for the disabled.
If you are responsible for someone with a disability who has been injured or abused, how do you afford them full access and rights of the law? If you suspect your loved one is being victimized, what do you do? That’s where we can help. Feel free to contact us if you need help or just have a question. You can call us at 704-296-0055 or contact us through this website on the “Contact Us” page.
Coming up soon on this blog: a warning sign check list that your disabled love one may be victimized.