Speaker Biography



National statistics show that individuals with disabilities are more likely to experience abuse than people without disabilities (Harrell, 2017).1 The Disability and Abuse Project (2013) reported that more than 70 percent of people with disabilities who were surveyed reported that they had been victims of abuse. More than 63 percent of family members said their loved one with a disability had been a victim of abuse. Focusing exclusively on individuals with developmental disabilities, 62.5 percent reported that they had experienced abuse (Coleman, 2013)2 and are 2.5 to 10 times more likely to experience abuse and neglect than their non-disabled peers (Kendall-Tackett, 2002).3 In spite of the high rates of abuse and trauma faced by individuals with disabilities and the likelihood that the actual numbers of abuse cases are much higher (possibly underreported due to increased isolation, fear of not being believed, fear of retribution, communication styles, etc.), there is still a shortage of research and training regarding how to provide support for crime victims with disabilities (McGilvery, 2018).4 The national statistics demonstrate a significant prevalence of abuse against people with disabilities and the clear need for a unique response.