• Limited information exists regarding the criminal victimization of people with disabilities, but the little that is available is horrifying in nature and scope.
  • 4 to 10 times higher risk of becoming crime victims than persons without a disability,
  • "Children with any kind of disability are more than twice as likely as nondisabled children to be physically abused and almost twice as likely to be sexually abused."
  • 68 percent to 83 percent of women with developmental disabilities will be sexually assaulted in their lifetime, which represents a 50 percent higher rate than the rest of the population.
  • People with developmental disabilities are more likely to be re-victimized by the same person and more than half never seek assistance from legal or treatment services (Pease & Frantz, 1994).
  • About 54 million Americans live with a wide array of physical, cognitive, and emotional disabilities.
  • In addition to people who have been disabled since birth, some people are disabled as a result of violent assaults.
  • It has been estimated that at least 6 million serious injuries occur each year due to crime, resulting in either temporary or permanent disability.
  • The National Rehabilitation Information Center (NARIC) has estimated that a large percentage-- perhaps as many as 50 percent--of patients who are long-term residents of hospitals and specialized rehabilitation centers are there due to crime-related injuries.
  • People with disabilities constitute the single largest minority group identified in the United States

    As a group, people with disabilities are older, poorer, less educated, and less employed than people without disabilities. The most widely accepted estimate of the number of people with disabilities is 49 million non-institutionalized Americans (McNeil, 1993). As such, people with disabilities constitute the single largest minority group identified in the United States, surpassing the elderly (about 33.2 million) and African Americans (about 32.7 million) (Bureau of the Census 1995). [Note: The October 1997 update to this report indicates 54 million Americans reporting having some level of disability, with 26 million of those having a severe disability.]

  • The percentage of people with a disability increases with age.

    5% - less than 18
    13.6% - 18-34
    29.2% - 45-64
    84.2% - 85 and over

    There are differences in the prevalence of severe disability among races, ethnicity groups and sexes. For the population aged 15-64, 7.4 percent of Whites had severe disabilities, compared to 12.7 percent of African Americans, 11.7 percent of American Indians, Eskimos or Aleuts, 9.1 percent of those from Hispanic origin and 4.5 percent of Asian or Pacific Islanders. Males had a disability rate of 18.7 percent and a severe disability rate of 8.1 percent. For females, the corresponding rates were 20.2 percent and 11 percent (McNeil, 1993).

    Report of the National Council on Disability, July 26, 1996, pages 13-14.