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

Sexual Victimization of Men with Disabilities and Deaf Men

A National Snapshot

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 ...

  • Allison Hastings, Sandra Harrell
October 31, 2017

PREA information and victim services should be accessible to incarcerated people with disabilities

Too often, educating incarcerated people with disabilities about their rights, access to services, and agency policies is limited to reading aloud to people who are blind or low-vision and giving print materials to Deaf people. These makeshift accommodations, while understandable in a busy correctional facility that places high demands on staff, pr...

Blog Post
  • Allison Hastings
    Allison Hastings
  • Sandra  Harrell
    Sandra Harrell
November 23, 2015
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