From: Disability and Abuse Project []
Sent: Wednesday, August 21, 2013 8:29 AM
Subject: New Report Shows Widespread Abuse of People with Disabilities
Disability and Abuse Project 
When disability and abuse intersect, we take action.
For Immediate Release                                           September 5, 2013
Nora Baladerian  



The findings of The 2012 National Survey on Abuse of People with Disabilities were at the same time shocking and validating.  Too many people are abused too much, with very little on the response side to help in the aftermath.
This report is a validation that much more needs to be done to get even near "equal justice" for abuse victims with disabilities.
The extent of abuse is epidemic, and the inadequate response is disturbing.
We are moving quickly to take action on the findings and proposals outlined in the report.  In addition to showcasing the report at two major national conferences, we are also convening a Roundtable Meeting of experts on October 11 in Los Angeles to identify ways to improve the situation for abuse victims with disabilities.
Prosecutors, judges, social workers, service providers, therapists, and a wide range of professionals should develop better skills in providing justice and healing for abuse victims with disabilities.
I encourage you to read the report and study its findings. 
Identify which of the recommendations you or your agency can implement.
If you are a parent or service provider, pay close attention to the tips on risk reduction.
And if you are a person with a disability, know that the number of people working on the issue of abuse and disability is growing.  Rest assured that more and more people believe that equal justice is a cause worth striving for. 
If you are a abuse survivor with a disability, your voice is needed.  Join other survivors who have shared their experience, advice, and healing message.

Nora J. Baladerian, Ph.D.




To Read the Report


Report Finds Rampant Abuse, 
Flawed Response Systems
Thousands of Victims and Families Speak Out

The Disability and Abuse Project today released a report that gives low grades to state and local agencies for failing to respond adequately to widespread abuse of children and adults with disabilities.


The Report -- "Abuse of People with Disabilities: Victims and Their Families Speak Out" -- analyzes the results of what may be the largest survey of its kind in the nation.  More than 7,200 people took the survey which inquired into the experiences of people with disabilities as victims of abuse and bullying. Family members, advocates, service providers and various types of professionals also responded.


Over 70% of people with disabilities said they had been victims of abuse.  More than 50% of these victims had experienced physical abuse, with some 41% having been victims of sexual abuse.  Nearly 9 of 10 respondents with disabilities had suffered verbal or emotional abuse. Most victims said they had experienced abuse on more than 20 occasions. 


About half of the incidents of abuse were not reported to authorities.  When reports were filed, fewer than 10% of alleged perpetrators were arrested.


Only one-third of victims received therapy and fewer than 5% received benefits from victim compensation programs.


"Abuse of people with disabilities is a hidden epidemic with a huge number of invisible victims," said Jim Stream, Executive Director of The Arc of Riverside County, an agency providing services to people with intellectual disabilities. 


"The findings from the report are an indictment our entire criminal justice system," said Alice Vachss, Special Prosecutor for Sex Crimes in Lincoln County, Oregon. 


The report and its recommendations will be discussed at the National Center for Victims of Crime conference on September 9 in Phoenix, Arizona.  The report also will be featured at a conference on violence jointly sponsored by the American Bar Association and American Psychological Association in Washington D.C. on October 3.


"Lawyers and judges must do a better job of providing equal justice to victims who have disabilities even though it may require working harder or becoming better educated on how to handle such difficult cases," said Thomas F. Coleman.  Coleman, an attorney, is the principal author of the report. 


For access to the data, findings, and recommendations of the report

The Disability and Abuse Project focuses on physical, sexual, and emotional abuse of people with developmental or intellectual disabilities.


Our mission is to identify ways to reduce the risk of abuse, to promote healing for victims, and to seek justice for those who have been victimized.


The areas in which we take action include: public awareness, education and training, policy development, law enforcement, and professional consulting. 

Nora J. Baladerian, Project Director
Jim Stream, Principal Consultant

Thomas F. Coleman, Legal Advisor

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