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Serving Crime Victims With Disabilities

NCJ Number
Date Published
April 2007
0 pages
Publication Series
In this DVD, crime victims with various disabilities and victim advocates who have worked with them in their case processing talk about the distinctive issues involved in serving disabled victims in the criminal justice system.
The disabled victims featured in the DVD are a wheelchair-bound gunshot victim, a mentally retarded sexual assault victim, and a deaf sexual assault victim. The victim advocates who discuss these cases focus on the importance of having persons available in police agencies and prosecutor's offices who are trained in communicating and interacting with crime victims and witnesses with specific types of disabilities. An interview with the mentally retarded sexual assault victim illustrates the importance of listening carefully with patience to what the victim is saying and repeating it back to the victim for confirmation. Another victim advocate describes the work of an organization of deaf women who provide services to deaf women and children who have become crime victims. She notes the importance of having interpreters available as quickly as possible in order to relieve the deaf victim of the frustration and anxiety of attempting to communicate with a police officer without an interpreter. Another issue discussed is the reluctance of people with disabilities to report crimes, either because they may not know they have been victimized (may occur with mentally retarded victims) or because they are anxious about interacting with police officers who have little understanding of their disability. Victim advocates emphasize the importance of outreach to community organizations who work with people with various types of disabilities, so disabled persons will be informed about the victim services available to them should they become a crime victim. The DVD provides captions for the hearing impaired.

Date Published: April 1, 2007