Finally... at the federal level they are doing something around the crimes committed against people with disabilities. This is a great Bill!
Contact: George Jesien, Executive Director 301-588-8252 firstname.lastname@example.org
Senator Biden Introduces Bill to Prevent Crimes Against People with Disabilities
SILVER SPRING, MD (October 1, 2008) — The Association of University Centers on Disabilities (AUCD) applauds Sen. Joe Biden for introducing the “Crime Victims with Disabilities Act” (S. 3668) today. The bill will help to increase the awareness, investigation, prosecution, and prevention of crimes against individuals with a disability, including developmental disabilities, and improve services to those who are victimized. The legislation provides grants to state to facilitate collaboration among the criminal justice system and a range of agencies and other organizations that provide services to individuals with disabilities.
An estimated five million crimes are committed against individuals with developmental disabilities annually. Over 70 percent of these crimes are not reported.
“People with disabilities are often especially vulnerable to becoming victims of crime, and yet, this population is often silent or ignored,” said AUCD’s Executive Director George Jesien. “In addition to people with disabilities being more likely to be victimized, violent crimes can cause disabilities – emotional and physical — that may last a lifetime. We need reliable data to increase our knowledge and information about crimes against individuals with developmental disabilities.
Without good data it is difficult to develop the needed strategies to reduce the incidence of crimes. This bill is a step in the right direction to help protect individuals with disabilities by ensuring that crimes are reported, and that reported crimes are actively investigated by both law enforcement agencies and other organizations that serve and support individuals with disabilities. “
AUCD stands ready to help move this important measure toward enactment.
The Association of University Centers on Disabilities (AUCD), located in Silver Spring, MD, promotes and supports a national network of interdisciplinary centers on disabilities. The members of AUCD represent every U.S. state and territory and include 67 University Centers for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities (UCEDDs), 34 Interdisciplinary Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental and Related Disabilities (LEND) Programs and 21 Developmental Disabilities Research Centers (DDRC). Together, these organizations advance policy and practice through research, education, leadership, and services for and with individuals with developmental and other disabilities, their families, and communities, in support of independence, productivity, and satisfying quality of life. For more information, visit AUCD’s website www.aucd.org.
Senator Biden’s statement follows:
The Crime Victims with Disabilities Act of 2008
Statement of Senator Joseph R. Biden, Jr.
October 1, 2008
Mr. President, I rise today to introduce the Crime Victims with Disabilities Act of 2008.
Adults with disabilities experience violence or abuse at least twice as often as people without disabilities, and adults with developmental disabilities are at risk of being physically or sexually assaulted at rates four to ten times greater than other adults. In fact, an estimated 5 million crimes are committed annually against persons with developmental disabilities and an estimated 70 percent of these crimes are not reported.
Adding insult to injury, individuals with disabilities suffer additional “victimization” within the justice system, due to lack of physical, programmatic, and communications accommodations needed for equal access.
The Crime Victims with Disabilities Act takes a common sense approach to fixing this problem by providing funds to increase the investigation, prosecution, and prevention of crimes against persons with disabilities and by facilitating collaboration among criminal justice agencies and other agencies and organizations that provide services to people with disabilities to improve services to those who are victimized.
Collaboration among criminal justice agencies and agencies and organizations that provide services to individuals with disabilities is necessary to ensure that crimes are reported and investigated properly, prosecutors are properly trained, appropriate accommodations are provided to disabled victims, and communication between criminal justice agencies and organizations that provide services to individuals with disabilities is effective.
The bill funds a modest grant program that would allow States, units of local government, and Indian Tribes to develop programs to facilitate collaboration among criminal justice agencies and agencies and organizations that provide services to individuals with disabilities for these purposes. The bill authorizes $50,000 for each planning grant and $300,000 for each implementation grant for a total authorization for the grant program of $10 million for the first year.
The bill also authorizes $4 million over four years to fund research to assist the Attorney General in collecting valid, reliable national data relating to crimes against individuals with developmental and related disabilities for the National Crime Victims Survey conducted by the Bureau of Justice Statistics of the Department of Justice as required by the Crime Victims with Disabilities Awareness Act.
Currently, the Bureau of Justice Statistics does not specifically collect this data, leaving many crimes against persons with disabilities unreported in the survey and making it difficult to address this problem adequately.
The Association of University Centers on Disabilities, the National Center for Victims of Crime, the National Council on Independent Living, the National Disability Rights Network, the National Child Abuse Coalition, Easter Seals, the Arc of the United States, and United Cerebral Palsy have endorsed the bill. I hope my colleagues will join me in supporting this bill which will protect some of the most vulnerable members of our society – individuals with disabilities who are victims of crime.