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NOTICE: The project that is the subject of this report was approved by the Governing Board of the National Research Council, whose members are drawn from the councils of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. The members of the committee responsible for the report were chosen for their special competences and with regard for appropriate balance.
The study was supported by Contract/Grant No. 1999-IJ-CX-0031 between the National Academy of Sciences and the National Institute of Justice. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the organizations or agencies that provided support for this project.
Suggested citation: National Research Council (2001), Crime Victims with Developmental Disabilities: Report of a Workshop. Committee on Law and Justice. Joan Petersilia, Joseph Foote, and Nancy A. Crowell, editors. Commission on Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education. Washington, DC: National Academy Press.
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THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES
National Academy of Sciences
National Academy of Engineering
Institute of Medicine
National Research Council
The National Academy of Sciences is a private, nonprofit, self-perpetuating society of distinguished scholars engaged in scientific and engineering research, dedicated to the furtherance of science and technology and to their use for the general welfare. Upon the authority of the charter granted to it by the Congress in 1863, the Academy has a mandate that requires it to advise the federal government on scientific and technical matters. Dr. Bruce M. Alberts is president of the National Academy of Sciences.
The National Academy of Engineering was established in 1964, under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences, as a parallel organization of outstanding engineers. It is autonomous in its administration and in the selection of its members, sharing with the National Academy of Sciences the responsibility for advising the federal govern ment. The National Academy of Engineering also sponsors engineering programs aimed at meeting national needs, encourages education and research, and recognizes the superior achievements of engineers. Dr. William A. Wulf is president of the National Academy of Engineering.
The Institute of Medicine was established in 1970 by the National Academy of Sciences to secure the services of eminent members of appropriate professions in the examination of policy matters pertaining to the health of the public. The Institute acts under the responsibility given to the National Academy of Sciences by its congressional charter to be an adviser to the federal government and, upon its own initiative, to identify issues of medical care, research, and education. Dr. Kenneth I. Shine is president of the Institute of Medicine.
The National Research Council was organized by the National Academy of Sciences in 1916 to associate the broad community of science and technology with the Academy's purposes of furthering knowledge and advising the federal government. Functioning in accordance with general policies determined by the Academy, the Council has become the principal operating agency of both the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering in providing services to the government, the public, and the scientific and engineering communities. The Council is administered jointly by both Academies and the Institute of Medicine. Dr. Bruce M. Alberts and Dr. William A. Wulf are chairman and vice chairman, respectively, of the National Research Council.
COMMITTEE ON LAW AND JUSTICE
Charles F. Wellford (Chair), Center for Applied Policy Studies and Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice, University of Maryland
Alfred Blumstein, H. John Heinz III School of Public Policy and Management, Carnegie Mellon University
Ruth Davis, The Pymatuning Group, Inc., Alexandria, Virginia
Jeffrey Fagan, School of Law, Columbia University Law School
Darnell Hawkins, Department of African American Studies, University of Illinois at Chicago
Philip Heymann, Center for Criminal Justice, Harvard Law School
Candace Kruttschnitt, Department of Sociology, University of Minnesota
Mark Lipsey, Department of Psychology and Human Development, Vanderbilt University
Colin Loftin, School of Criminal Justice, State University of New York at Albany
John Monahan, School of Law, University of Virginia
Daniel Nagin, H. John Heinz III School of Public Policy and Management, Carnegie Mellon University
Joan Petersilia, School of Social Ecology; University of California, Irvine
Peter Reuter, School of Public Affairs, University of Maryland
Wesley Skogan, Center for Urban Affairs, Northwestern University
Cathy Spatz Widom, Departments of Criminal Justice and Psychology, State University of New York at Albany
Kate Stith, School of Law, Yale University
Michael Tonry, School of Law, University of Minnesota
Nancy Crowell, Study Director
Karen Autrey, Senior Project Assistant
The Committee on Law and Justice (and its predecessor, the Committee on Research on Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice) has conducted work on criminal justice and related issues since 1975, when it was formed at the request of the administrator of the Law Enforcement Assistance Administration. The committee applies the knowledge and tools of the social and behavioral sciences to the development of improved policy, research, and evaluation related to criminal and civil laws and the operations of the justice system. It does so primarily by synthesizing, analyzing, and evaluating relevant scientific research related to critical issues in crime and justice at the federal, state, and local levels.
For fiscal year 1999, the committee was asked to conduct activities related to the criminal victimization of people with developmental disabilities. This activity arose under provisions of the Crime Victims with Disabilities Awareness Act (Public Law 105-301), which directed the attorney general of the United States to conduct "a study to increase knowledge and information about crimes against individuals with developmental disabilities that will be useful in developing new strategies to reduce the incidence of crimes against those individuals” (Section 4(a)). The statute authorized the attorney general to contract with the National Academy of Sciences to undertake this study.
The National Research Council (NRC) of the National Academies, in consultation with the National Institute of Justice, U.S. Department of Justice, determined that insufficient research on criminal victimization of
people with disabilities existed to warrant a consensus panel study by the NRC. Instead, a workshop to discuss the state of the research and highlight gaps in knowledge was deemed the appropriate mechanism. The Committee on Law and Justice convened the Workshop on Crime Victims with Developmental Disabilities on October 28-29, 1999, in Irvine, California, at which authors of several commissioned papers delivered the results of their research. The workshop brought together policy officials from the Department of Justice, the Department of Health and Human Services, the Department of Education, the California Department of Developmental Services, and representatives from academia and the public sector. The latter included primarily criminologists, economists, law enforcement officials, policy analysts, psychologists, sociologists, members of the legal profession, and statisticians who have studied victimization of vulnerable populations, generally, and that of people with developmental disabilities, specifically.
Presentations and discussions focused on conceptual issues, including:
Definitions and measurements;
The ways in which theory on crime victimization can be applied to vulnerable victim populations;
The existence of common themes or elements with regard to victimization experiences of vulnerable groups that would permit better measurement of rare or stigmatizing events that people are reluctant to report;
The nature and adequacy of criminal justice and social service systems' response to vulnerable victims, especially those with developmental disabilities; and
Whether research information from different sources within criminal justice system reports, surveys, and research studies on victims with disabilities and other vulnerable victim groups can be combined in ways better to inform the design of a new generation of studies on vulnerable victims.
In developing the workshop, the committee drew on information and expertise from other National Research Council work related to this topic, other research, and international, national, state, and local databases and reports.
The chapters in this report draw on the eight papers presented at the workshop. The report also draws on the oral presentations of paper authors
and on comments made by a panel of distinguished commentators at the workshop. A list of the papers and authors appears in the Appendix.
The report draws attention to gaps in knowledge about the criminal victimization of people with disabilities. It is my hope that this report will stimulate research to begin to fill those gaps.
This report has been reviewed in draft form by individuals chosen for their diverse perspectives and technical expertise, in accordance with procedures approved by the Report Review Committee of the National Research Council (NRC). The purpose of this independent review is to provide candid and critical comments that will assist the institution in making the published report as sound as possible and to ensure that the report meets institutional standards for objectivity, evidence, and responsiveness to the study charge. The review comments and draft manuscript remain confidential to protect the integrity of the deliberative process.
We thank the following individuals for their participation in the review of this report: Linda Cottler, Department of Psychiatry, Washington University School of Medicine; William F. Eddy, Department of Statistics, Carnegie Mellon University; Susan Herman, National Center for Victims of Crime, Arlington, Virginia; Robert Scott, Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences, Stanford, California; and James Short, Department of Criminology, Washington State University.
Although the reviewers listed above provided many constructive comments and suggestions, they were not asked to endorse the report nor did they see the final draft of the report before its release. The review of this report was overseen by Charles Wellford, Center for Applied Policy Studies, University of Maryland. Appointed by the Commission on Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education, he was responsible for making certain that an independent examination of this report was carried out in accordance with institutional procedures and that all review comments were carefully considered. Responsibility for the final content of this report rests entirely with the authoring committee and the institution.