by Shaun Heasley, Disability Scoop | November 30, 2021
People with disabilities are nearly four times more likely than others to be victims of violent crime, according to new federal data.
Between 2017 and 2019, individuals with disabilities accounted for 26% of victims of nonfatal violent crime in this country despite representing just 12% of the population. In 2019 alone, the rate of violent crime against people with disabilities rose to 49.2 per 1,000 compared to 12.4 per 1,000 for typically developing individuals.
The figures come from a report issued this month by the Bureau of Justice Statistics at the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of Justice Programs looking at crimes including rape, sexual assault, robbery, aggravated assault and simple assault. Data was collected through the Bureau of Justice Statistics’ National Crime Victimization Survey, which polls households on the experiences of noninstitutionalized residents over age 12.
The report found that a third of robbery victims between 2017 and 2019 had disabilities. And, the rate of violent victimization was at least double for those in this population for every year between 2009 and 2019.
But many crimes went unreported, the data suggests. Only 19% of rapes and sexual assaults against people with disabilities were reported to police compared to 36% of similar crimes against others.
Among people with disabilities, the rate of violent victimization was highest for those with cognitive conditions at 83.3 per 1,000 between 2017 and 2019.
Crimes against people with disabilities were more likely to be at the hands of someone the victim knew, the report found, with twice as many of these crimes committed by a parent, child or other relative.