National Crime Victims’ Rights Week begins April 13th
A federal initiative is now in place to improve public safety for people with disabilities; grants will go for greater reporting efforts, rights training, and broader public awareness about the public safety needs of this fifteen percent of the population.
Olegario D. Cantos, Special Counsel to the Acting Assistant Attorney General, has spoken extensively on the need for a nationwide public safety initiative for people with disabilities. In a recent letter, Cantos wrote that “all too often and in silence, people with disabilities are victimized by physical, psychological, financial, and sexual abuse or are otherwise victims of neglect. In the worst of circumstances, they lose their very lives by the hands of perpetrators of crime. This state of affairs cannot and must not stand ….”
John Gillis, Director of the Office for Victims of Crime of the Office for Justice Programs, announced the $2.5 million award to address victimization of persons with disabilities.
The largest grants will go to programs designed to “increase reporting of victimization and ensure that crime victims with disabilities receive comprehensive and accessible services and are afforded fundamental rights. The awards to Disabled Persons Protection Commission (Quincy, Montana) and SafePlace (Austin, Texas), each $700,000, also include work to expand access to the criminal justice system in the aftermath of criminal victimization.
Other programs receiving significant support are those that will coordinate, develop and administer “state-of-the-art” multi-disciplinary training at a national conference. Wash-burn University of Topeka, Kansas Joint Center on Violence and Victim Studies and the National Center for Victims of Crime, NCVC, Washington, D.C. will receive $550,000 each.
To learn more about programs protecting the rights of people with disabilities, visit the following Web sites:
• www.ovw.usdoj.gov/: “Education, Training and Enhanced Services to End Violence Against and Abuse of Women with Disabilities”
• www.ojp.usdoj.gov/: “2008 National Crime Victims’ Rights Week Award Recipients”
• www.ojp.usdoj.gov/: “Office for Victims of Crime: Putting Victims First”
• www.ojp.usdoj.gov/: “Department of Justice Recognizes Service to Crime Victims.”
• www.ada.gov/: “Communicating with People who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing: ADA Guide for Law Enforcement Officers.”
• www.ada.gov/: “Model Policy for Law Enforcement on Communicating with People who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing.”