By a Biometrica staffer
The National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS) has, once again, shown that disabled people are disproportionately targeted by criminals, and are particularly at risk of being victims of violent crimes. The rate at which disabled people are victimized, the survey found, is also alarmingly higher than it was in the past.
In 2019, the rate of violent victimization against persons with disabilities was nearly four times the rate for those without, according to data published this month by the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS). The overall rate of violent victimization against persons with disabilities was 46.2 per 1,000 people aged 12 or older. That number drops dramatically to a rate of 12.3 per 1,000 for persons without disabilities.
According to older results of the same survey (NCVS), between 2009 and 2015 the rate of violent victimization of persons with disabilities was 2.5 times the rate for those without (i.e. 32.3 per 1,000 versus 12.7 per 1,000).
Per the latest survey results, between 2017 and 2019, people with disabilities were victims of 26% of all non-fatal violent crime, and yet only accounted for 12% of the population. When it comes to the type of crime, one in three robbery victims had at least one disability, BJS adds.
However, BJS researchers and law enforcement agencies concede that the number of crimes actually committed against disabled people is likely to be higher than what is reported, CBS News said in a report.
Other key findings of the latest NCVS, according to BJS, include:
- During 2017–19, the rate of violent victimization against males with disabilities was 42.7 per 1,000, compared to 13.4 per 1,000 males without disabilities
- For females with disabilities, the rate of violent victimization was 49.4 per 1,000, compared to 11.3 per 1,000 for females without disabilities. In a 2015 report from the U.S. Department of Human Health Services, researchers found that disabled women are more likely to experience violence or abuse compared to non-disabled women and are more likely to experience violence or abuse by a current or former partner, per the CBS News article cited earlier
- For each racial and ethnic group measured, persons with disabilities had higher violent victimization rates than persons without disabilities
- Among victims who were disabled, the rate of violent crime excluding simple assault was more than four times the rate for people without disabilities (i.e. 17.9 per 1,000 versus 4.0 per 1,000)
- The rate of simple assault against persons with disabilities (28.3 per 1,000) was more than three times the rate for persons without disabilities (8.3 per 1,000)
- 27% of aggravated assault victimizations involved a person with a disability; similarly the rates were 27% for rape/sexual assault and 25% for simple assault
- Among the disability types measured, the rate of violent victimization was highest for persons with cognitive disabilities (83.3 per 1,000). Persons with hearing disabilities had the lowest victimization rates of violent crime (23.6 per 1,000) and violent crime, excluding simple assault, (9.4 per 1,000) among the disability types examined
- Strangers committed a lower percentage of violent victimizations against persons with disabilities (32%) than against persons without disabilities (41%)
- A similar percentage of violent victimizations against persons with (11%) or without (13%) disabilities was committed by an intimate partner. Other relatives (including parents, children, etc) accounted for a higher percentage of violent victimizations against persons with disabilities (14%) than against persons without disabilities (7%)
- Violent crime against persons with disabilities (38%) was less likely to be reported to police than violence against persons without disabilities (45%)
- 19% of rapes or sexual assaults against persons with disabilities were reported to police, which was lower than the percentage for victims without disabilities (36%)