AND NOW, TO OUR NEWS
To know how one group of people is being treated, it is imperative to understand where that group stands with respect to other groups. The way to do so is to gather statistics on both groups and compare the results. To this end, we bring you the following story about crime in America and the enhanced vulnerability of people with disabilities:
Crime victims with disabilities
Young and middle-age persons with disabilities experienced higher rates of violence than similarly-aged persons without disabilities.
The U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) has issued the first estimates of crime against people with disabilities. The Crime Victims with Disabilities Awareness Act (Public Law 105-301), 1998, requires the National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS) to measure the victimization of people with disabilities.
Using 2007 NCVS data, BJS estimates that about one third (34%) of the crimes against persons with or without a disability in 2007 were serious violent crimes (rape/sexual assault, robbery, or aggravated assault). Persons with disabilities were victims of about 47,000 rapes, 79,000 robberies, 114,000 aggravated assaults, and 476,000 simple assaults. Other findings include:
- The rate of nonfatal violent crimes against people with disabilities was 50% higher than the rate for people without disabilities.
- Rates of rape and sexual assault were more than twice those for people without disabilities.
- Youth with a disability aged 12 to 19 experienced violence at nearly twice the rate as those without a disability.
- People with cognitive disabilities had a higher risk of violent victimization than persons with any other type of disability.
- People with multiple disabilities accounted for about 56% of all violent crime victimizations against those with any disability.
- Similar percentages of victims of violent crime with disabilities (58%) and without disabilities (60%) resisted their attackers.
- Nearly 1 in 5 violent crime victims with a disability believed that they became a victim because of their disability.
- Police did not respond to about 23% of reported violent crimes against people with disabilities, compared to about 10% of reported violent crimes against victims without disabilities.
For more information, see the Department of Justice press release: “First National Study on Crime against People with Disabilities” at http://bjs.ojp.usdoj.gov/ content/ pub/press/capd07pr.cfm. Read the text-only version of the report: “Crime against People with Disabilities.”
One member’s response to a comment in the Key West Citizen
December 7, 2011
Re: “Old Town Key West should be designated as ‘historic’ so, like other historic towns in the U.S., it will be spared from the wrecking ball of the Americans with Disabilities Act sidewalk projects.”
Calling the ADA a “wrecking ball” displays an ignorance about the value of inclusion of people with disabilities in all facets of American life, and an attitude toward people with disabilities and their civil rights. Making sidewalks accessible allows people with disabilities to spend money in local businesses and take advantage of the programs and services of state and local governments. The writer displays an attitude that made the passage of the federal civil rights law necessary in the first place. And, it should be noted, designating a place as historic does not exempt it from the requirements of the law.
I am a Keys resident, and served as a Senior Trial Attorney at the Justice Department from 1993-2005, where I was responsible for nationwide enforcement of the ADA on behalf of the Civil Rights Division. Marc Dubin, Esq.