Criminal Justice Homework


AJ 615 Special Topics
Summer 2015
Module 7 Writing Assignment
Victimization Case Study (5 pts.)
Due in SafeAssign July 19th at 11:59pm

The victimology case study provides an opportunity for students to examine a contemporary issue in the study of victimology and the administration of justice. The case study will include an introduction, brief literature review, and a conclusion, with subheadings for each included in the assignment. The introduction will provide a definition/description of the victimization issue, explain why it is important, and include either relevant statistical data/trends or a summary of a recent policy initiative related to the topic. The literature review will include a summary of at least one journal article, one government document and one recent policy initiative related to the topic. The conclusion will explain how the topic is related to the course and how it contributed to your understanding of victimology. Use APA reference style, include in-text references and a list of references at the end of the assignment. Do not use Wikipedia for this assignment.


Victimization of the Disabled


Introduction. 2

Literature Review.. 3

Conclusion. 4

References. 5


            Victimization of the disabled means suffering a disadvantage in the administration of justice primarily due to one’s disability status. Disabled persons are more likely to become “invisible” victims of crimes compared to their non-disabled counterparts. They become invisible in the sense that they in many cases remain unidentified and unserved. In other words, many disabled persons who happen to be victims of crime never get an opportunity to participate in the country’s criminal justice system. It is important to address this problem because failure to do so means that the situation will increase the chances of the disabled persons being repeatedly victimized and even brutalized. Moreover, the need to address the problem is informed by numerous day-to-day life challenges that these persons encounter such as social isolation, underreporting of crime, and stereotyping.


            In 2010, approximately 567,000 disabled persons aged 12 and above were victims of nonfatal violent crimes, which included sexual assault, rape, simple assault, and robbery (National Crime Victimization Survey, 2011). In 2009, the number of victims of these crimes was estimated to be 753,000 (National Crime Victimization Survey, 2011). During the same year, statistics indicated that 41 percent of persons aged 65 or older had disabilities. This means that age is an important factor in the assessment of victimization of disabled persons. A number of policy initiatives aimed at addressing the issue of victimization among the disabled have been developed, for example the STARS Program, whereby sex education is provided to persons with developmental disabilities (Marge, 2003). The aim of this paper is to explore literature on the victimization of the disabled and how it relates to victimology.

Literature Review

            A wide literature on the victimization of the disabled in the administration of justice has been developed. In this literature, efforts have been made to highlight the problem as well as propose policy initiatives to address them. To begin with, there is consensus among researchers that rates of abuse and violence perpetrated towards individuals with disabilities tend to be significantly higher than those of non-disabled persons (Petersilia, 2001). One of the reasons why this problem exists is that officials are reluctant to pursue cases whose testimony is being provided by a person with disability. Other common causes of victimization include victim-learned compliance, stereotyping, and dependency on the victimizers (Petersilia, 2001).

            In many cases, victimization of disabled persons is perpetuated by caregivers, including family members (Andrews & Veronen, 1993). For example, many disabled persons are being battered by their abusive spouses and intimate partners. However, a major problem with this claim is that it is difficult to obtain reliable statistics. Nevertheless, the few researchers who have attempted to scratch the surface to examine this perspective argue that the problem has reached epidemic proportions (Brownridge, 2006).

            Sexual abuses are among the most widely explored themes in literature on the victimization of the disabled (Hershkowitz, Lamb & Dvora, 2007; Andrews & Veronen, 1993). The increased focus on this area of inquiry is a reflection of growing societal concern that people with disabilities may be going through more agony due to sexual assault than previously thought. Consequently, much research focus has been on aspects of vulnerability to sexual assault, effects of sexual victimization on disabled persons, as well as their unique needs in terms of assistance and recovery. One suggested way of addressing this problem is the introduction of security plans aimed at promoting risk assessments and reduction (Andrews & Veronen, 1993).


Taking cognizance of this problem, the U.S. Congress enacted the Crime Victims with Disabilities Awareness Act, 1998. Under this law, the NCVS (National Crime Victimization Survey) is required to highlight statistics on crimes committed against persons with disabilities and also to highlight the characteristics of the persons affected by those crimes. A major aim of this act was to increase awareness within the public of the problems that disabled persons face in the hands of perpetrators of various crimes. Other objectives of the law include data collection with a view to measure the nature and magnitude of the victimization problem and on this basis to develop effective strategies aimed at addressing the justice and safety needs of the victims.

            A number of policy initiatives have recently been introduced to address the problem. One of them is the STARS program that seeks to offer sex education to individuals with disabilities. Another one is Family Support Program whose goal is to fund families of children living with disabilities. Another policy initiative, called Miracourt, operates as an in-house victimization prevention program by promoting disabled persons’ access to various volunteer services (Marge, 2003).


            The analysis presented in this paper shows that the issue of victimization of the disabled is closely related to the course. It sheds light on the various ways in which a section of the population (the disabled persons), are being denied access to the administration of justice. Moreover, the investigation has contributed immensely to my understanding of victimology. Upon exploring relevant literature, I now understand how victimization of disabled persons manifests itself and the circumstances under which this disadvantaged group is isolated from the criminal justice system. This isolation constitutes a serious injustice that must be addressed through the introduction of appropriate policy initiatives.


Andrews, A. & Veronen, L. (1993). Sexual Assault and People with Disabilities. Journal of Social Work & Human Sexuality, 8(2), 137-159.

Brownridge, D. (2006). Partner Violence against Women with Disabilities: Prevalence, Risk, and Explanations. Violence against Women, 12(9), 805-822.

Hershkowitz, I., Lamb, M. & Dvora, H. (2007). Victimization of children with disabilities. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 77(4), 629-635.

Marge, D. (2003). A Call to Action: Ending Crimes of Violence against Children and Adults with Disabilities: A Report to the Nation. Syracuse, NY: SUNY Upstate Medical University, Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation.

National Crime Victimization Survey. (2011). Crime against Persons with Disabilities, 2008-2010 – Statistical Tables. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics.

Petersilia, J. (2001). Crime Victims with Developmental Disabilities: A Review Essay. Criminal Justice and Behavior, 28(6), 655-694.

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