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Promising Practices in Serving Crime Victims With Disabilities Printer-Friendly Option Promising Practices in Serving Crime Victims With Disabilities Image of a nurse taking an elderly man’s blood pressure. Image of a woman instructing a child.
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minus iconPlanning and Implementation

Based on their experiences, the subgrantees provided the following recommendations for other organizations that want to improve access to needed support services for crime victims with disabilities.

Promising Practices for Improving Access to Services

  • Conduct a comprehensive community needs assessment. Plan and conduct a meaningful assessment involving people with disabilities, their families, and persons working in the criminal justice, victim services, and disability services communities.

  • Involve people with disabilities in every aspect of the project, from collaboration to assessment, planning to implementation, and especially during evaluation.

  • Develop concrete and measurable plans to enable the project to accomplish its goals.

  • Select one or two areas for significant change, and focus your efforts accordingly.

  • Address internal gaps before community gaps, and lead by example.

  • Develop strategic training and outreach efforts, and pursue those activities that will have the most significant impact in the community.

  • Cultivate investment from potential trainees, so that they will pass on their new knowledge and skills to others who could benefit from them.

  • Use community involvement as a vehicle for moving forward. Consult potential collaborators early and often, trust their advice, and expand your networks accordingly.

  • Create expectations within your own organization. Provide clear expectations to all staff about your agency’s commitment to making its services more accessible to people with disabilities.

  • Recruit consultants who have the expertise you need. Use consultants to acquire perspectives about the issues and services that you may have missed and to bring new resources to the project.

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Strategies for Coordinating Efforts With Law Enforcement

  • Network with people who have connections to law enforcement and the criminal justice system. Get involved with community groups, task forces, or committees that can help build these relationships.

  • Offer training to those who have the authority to make decisions.

  • Develop training agreements to facilitate better access to and support for training.

  • Be diplomatic. People respond better to a positive approach.

  • Offer to train with law enforcement staff, or use a train-the-trainer model, so that officers will be able to pass their new knowledge on to their peers. Respect the culture and allow an insider to help deliver information more effectively.

  • Partner with other organizations to reach a greater number of people.

  • Involve the trainees, and ask them to discuss their experience of working with crime victims with disabilities.

  • Include people with disabilities, as they will be the most relevant voice in the room.

  • Provide officers with the resources they need to do their jobs better and more effectively.

  • Offer abbreviated training sessions if longer sessions are not feasible. Shorter sessions may be the most effective, if they allow trainees to focus fully on the new information without worrying about the workload they have left behind for your training.