Study: Nonfatal crime rates three times higher against people with disabilities

Photo of closeup of a bruise on a middle-aged woman's forehead.
Significantly Higher Rates of Crime Against People with Disabilities

The Bureau of Justice Statistics, a component of the US Department of Justice, released a comprehensive report February 25, finding that the age-adjusted rate of violent victimization was higher for persons with disabilities than for those without disabilities, for both males and females.

The victimization rate for people with disabilities was approximately 60 per 1,000 people, compared to 22 per 1,000 for people without disabilities.

The report, whose findings come from the National Crime Victimization Survey, provided estimates for the crimes of rape, sexual assault, robbery, aggravated and simple assault against people with disabilities, from between 2009 and 2012.

Overall in 2012, an estimated 1.3 million nonfatal violent crimes occurred against people with disabilities, which is similar to the figure reported in 2012, but an increase from 2008.

“This startling data illustrates what we are hearing from self-advocates, parents, caregivers, and others within our chapter network and the disability community – people with intellectual and developmental disabilities are at particular risk of being victims of crimes of all kinds,” the ARC said in a news release. “It’s a serious problem that we must no longer ignore or treat as a peripheral issue.”

Also last week, the ARC launched the National Center on Criminal Justice and Disability, with the assistance of a two-year, $400,000 grant from the Department of Justice. The ARC calls the Center the “first national effort of its kind to bring together both victim and suspect/offender issues involving people with (intellectual and developmental disabilities) under one roof.”