Though many disabled people are able to overcome their physical or mental challenges, they may remain vulnerable to criminals. Violent crime in particular is a big problem for disabled Americans, according to a new report by the U.S. Department of Justice.
The Justice Department’s Bureau of Justice Statistics recently reported that in 2013, people with disabilities in the U.S. were more than twice as likely to be victimized by violent crime, compared with the general population. In total, there were 1.3 million nonfatal violent crimes committed against disabled people that year, according to Disability Scoop.
While the vast majority of the reported violent crimes were simple assaults, disabled Americans experienced even more serious crimes like aggravated assault, rape, sexual assault and robbery. People with cognitive disabilities were the most likely to be subject to violent crime. Around half of the victims had more than one disabling conditions.
Unfortunately, the Bureau found, most of the time victims never reported the incidents to the police. Those who responded to the survey on which the Bureau based its report had called the police just under half the time. Those who did not gave various reasons. Some of them believed the police would not help, or that the crime was not worth getting police involved.
Violence is never acceptable, and nobody deserves to be assaulted, least of all those less capable of defending themselves. Nearly a quarter of the disabled victims surveyed believed they had been targeted because of their disabilities.
Besides making them more vulnerable to crime, disabilities can take away peoples’ ability to support themselves through work. Those in Missouri in that situation may qualify for Social Security Disability payments.