Disability advocates continue to report an epidemic of victimization committed against people with disabilities. But despite the high rate of crime estimated as perpetuated against people with disabilities, many victim assistance agencies report that they rarely serve crime victims from this population. This suggests both an opportunity for raising community, criminal justice system, and individual awareness of victim services as well as the need to make those services accessible to people with disabilities.
In addition to funding the programs outlined above, OVC has modified the federal guidelines for the administration of Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) funding, the major source of financial support for victim services in this country, to better serve victims with disabilities. But perhaps the most important result of OVC initiatives to raise awareness and better serve this population has been the partnership forged between the disability and victim advocacy fields, uniting our previous well-intentioned but separate efforts into a strong voice for fundamental justice for all victims, including people with disabilities. It is OVC’s hope that the Promising Practices in Serving Victims of Crime with Disabilities bulletin and online guide will provide information and concrete tools to help further develop these collaborations.
The bulletin and online guide developed as a result of this demonstration project are designed to promote awareness of the issues faced by crime victims with disabilities and to improve community capacity to better serve them by providing a user-friendly resource for organizations wishing to replicate similar project activities and outcomes. The online guide, especially, reflects the actual sequence of activities completed by each subgrantee of the SafePlace demonstration project and offers practical advice and examples to help communities replicate the project models featured and develop those appropriate to their locale.
John W. Gillis
Office for Victims of Crime