Securing Equal JusticeReaching All Victims

People with Disabilities and Deaf People

People with disabilities are much more vulnerable to harm. They’re three times more likely to be sexually abused as children,1 and three times more likely to be victims of serious violent crimes ranging from robbery to rape as adolescents and adults.2 As troubling, survivors rarely get the help they need to heal. Organizations dedicated to serving people with disabilities and Deaf people often have no experience working with victims of crime, while agencies focused on crime and victimization are typically ill-equipped to serve people with differing abilities.

Our work focuses on connecting professionals, breaking down systemic barriers to collaboration, and rigorously tracking performance—the only way to provide services that actually meet peoples’ needs. Much of our work is focused on survivors of domestic and sexual violence.

Sullivan, P.M., & Knuston, J.F. (2000). Maltreatment and disabilities: A population-based epidemiological study. Child Abuse & Neglect, 24, 1257-1273. 

Harrell, E. (2015). Crimes against persons with disabilities, 2009–2013 – statistical tables. U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, Bureau of Justice Statistics. NCJ 248676.

Related Work

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Incapacitated, Indigent, and Alone

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In 2005, the Vera Institute of Justice and New York State’s Office of Court Administration initiated The Guardianship Project (TGP) to serve as court-appointed agency guardian to a vulnerable, largely indigent population—elders and persons with disabilities lacking family or other supports—thus enabling them to live as independently as possible. Th ...

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Sexual Victimization of Men with Disabilities and Deaf Men

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Men with disabilities experience victimization, including sexual violence, at rates higher than their counterparts without disabilities. In partnership with the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office on Violence Against Women (OVW), Vera launched a project to explore these issues. This brief presents the project findings. It gives an overview of the l ...

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