An estimated 1.3 million nonfatal violent crimes occurred against persons with disabilities in 2012, the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) announced. While the annual number of victimizations increased from 2008 to 2012, the number in 2012 was not statistically different from 2011. These findings are based on BJS’s National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS), which classifies an individual’s disability according to six limitations: hearing, vision, cognitive, ambulatory, self-care and independent living. An estimated 14 percent of the U.S. household population age 12 or older had one or more disabilities.
In 2012, the rate of violent crime against persons with disabilities was 34 per 1,000, compared to 23 per 1,000 for persons without disabilities. Because persons with disabilities are generally much older than those without, the age distribution differs considerably between these two groups, making direct comparisons misleading. To compare rates, each group was adjusted to have a similar age distribution, making the age-adjusted rate of violent crime against persons with disabilities (60 per 1,000) nearly three times higher than the rate for persons without disabilities (22 per 1,000).
The age-adjusted rate of serious violent crime—rape or other sexual assault, robbery and aggravated assault—against persons with disabilities (22 per 1,000) was nearly four times higher than that for persons without disabilities (6 per 1,000) in 2012.
Among persons with disabilities, those with cognitive disabilities had the highest unadjusted rate of violent victimization (63 per 1,000). During 2012, about half (52 percent) of violent crime victims with disabilities had more than one disability. Violent crime against persons with one disability type increased from 2011 (37 per 1,000) to 2012 (53 per 1,000), while the rate among persons with multiple disability types remained stable during the same period.
Other findings include—
- In 2012, persons with disabilities experienced an estimated 233,000 robberies, 195,200 aggravated assaults, 838,600 simple assaults and 80,100 rapes or other sexual assaults.
- Among persons with disabilities in 2012, whites were more likely than blacks to experience a violent crime.
- In 2012, Hispanics with disabilities had a lower rate of violent victimization than non-Hispanics with disabilities.
- Among persons ages 12 to 15, the unadjusted rate of violent victimization was nearly three times higher for persons with disabilities than for persons without disabilities.