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First Response to Victims of Crime Who Have a Disability
With this new handbook, First Response to Victims of Crime Who Have a Disability, OVC seeks to increase the capacity of law enforcement to respond to particular populations of crime victims in a sensitive and effective manner, recognizing the special needs of certain individuals. The handbook offers guidance and tips on approaching and interacting with victims who have Alzheimer’s disease, mental illness, or intellectual disabilities (formerly mental retardation), or who are blind, visually impaired, deaf, or hard of hearing. It is estimated that 17 percent of the U.S. population has one of these disabilities. Therefore, it is likely that law enforcement officers will encounter a victim with a disability. Because officers and dispatchers often are the first to respond to crime victims, it is critical that they understand how to approach them. There are few resources for law enforcement professionals in this area, and what is available is typically offender rather than victim focused and found in training curricula.
This handbook is not intended to be a training manual and does not offer a response to every situation, but it does highlight salient issues for victims with disabilities. The handbook provides an introductory section with general tips on responding to victims with a disability and a section for each disability that offers professionals guidance on how to respond to victims with that particular disability. Also included is a section on the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, two federal laws that prohibit discrimination against individuals with disabilities. Finally, the handbook highlights service providers representing the interests of individuals with the various disabilities covered and lists other national victim resources. These resources are intended to help law enforcement locate the services victims need. Like First Response to Victims of Crime, this handbook may be useful in retraining officers in the inservice setting, at roll calls, and in recertification programs.
This handbook is a reminder that every victim deserves to be treated compassionately, fairly, and respectfully. Law enforcement’s sensitive and quality response to all victims strengthens the criminal justice system.
John W. Gillis
Office for Victims of Crime
*Note: In 2010 the OVC published an updated version of the “First Response to Victims of Crime Handbook.” A section of this updated handbook is dedicated to individuals with disabilities. The 2002 and 2010 handbooks are both available to view online under the “Web Links” tab above.
|Organization:||Office for Victims of Crime|
|Address:||OVC Resource Center|
P.O. Box 6000
Rockville, MD 20849-6000
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|Phone:||1-800-627-6872 or 301-519-5500; TTY: 1-877-712-9279|
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Download a copy of the 2010 version of the handbook
Download a copy of the 2002 version of the handbook
See a listing of other publications available from the Office for Victims of Crime
Visit the home page of the US Office for Victims of Crime
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