Monday 22 November 2021 - 11:58

Violent Crime and Victimization against Disabled People in US Rising: Bureau of Justice Statistics

Story Code : 964848
Violent Crime and Victimization against Disabled People in US Rising: Bureau of Justice Statistics
According to the data, the frequency of such crimes is also rising, with disabled people accounting for 26 percent of nonfatal violent crimes from 2017 to 2019.

Despite the disabled making up just 12 percent of the population, they are victims of violence at almost four times the rate of non-disabled people.

Meanwhile, the disparity is even greater among disabled women with the prospect of their victimization appearing to be almost inevitable to some, activists argue.

Based on the data, there is an ongoing prevalence of domestic and intimate partner violence against disabled women too and activists assert that it is symptomatic of the failings of a system not built for the well-being of disabled people.

Stefanie Lyn Kaufman-Mthimkhulu, the Executive Director of non-profit disability advocacy group Project LETS, who is a survivor of sexual violence herself, did not report an occasion when she was sexually assaulted by a friend as a senior in college in 2017.

The reason was, Kaufman-Mthimkhulu said, she thought maybe her history in psychiatric institutions and her mental illness would have made it hard to hold her abuser accountable.

"I've seen [the legal system] tear people apart," Kaufman-Mthimkhulu said. "And I don't think I could have handled it. That's the reality that we're up against, particularly for folks who have psychiatric histories, who are intellectually disabled."

Activists believe that preventing such attacks is an uphill battle given the lack of research into violence at institutions, a mistrust in law enforcement among the community, poverty and overrepresentation in the criminal justice system.

According to the BJS, the rate of violent crime against disabled women stands at 49.4 per 1,000 people, which is higher than it is for disabled men and non-disabled men and women.