U.S. Department of Justice


Date of this Version



U.S. Department of Justice (2007)


Persons age 12 or older with disabilities experienced approximately 716,000 nonfatal violent crimes and 2.3 million property crimes in 2007 as measured by the National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS). Nonfatal violent crimes include rape, sexual assault, robbery, aggravated assault, and simple assault. Property crimes include household burglary, motor vehicle theft, and property theft.

About one third (34%) of the crimes against persons with or without a disability in 2007 were serious violent crimes (rape/sexual assault, robbery, or aggravated assault). Persons with disabilities were victims of about 47,000 rapes, 79,000 robberies, 114,000 aggravated assaults, and 476,000 simple assaults.

Findings in this report are the first estimates of crime against people with disabilities measured by the NCVS, administered by the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS). The NCVS adopted questions from the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey (ACS) to identify respondents who had a disability. Disability is defined as a long-lasting (six months or more) sensory, physical, mental, or emotional condition that makes it difficult for a person to perform daily living activities. The NCVS questions identified six types of disabilities: sensory, physical, cognitive functioning, self-care, go-outside-the-home, and employment (see box, page 3).

This report focuses on the victimization experiences of persons with disabilities, including comparisons to persons without disabilities, disability types, victim characteristics, and crime characteristics, such as reporting crime to the police and the presence of weapons during the crime.

Findings from the NCVS include—

• Age-adjusted rate of nonfatal violent crime against persons with disabilities was 1.5 times higher than the rate for persons without disabilities.
• Persons with a disability had an age-adjusted rate of rape or sexual assault that was more than twice the rate for persons without a disability.
• Females with a disability had a higher victimization rate than males with a disability; males had a higher rate than females among those without a disability.
• Persons with a cognitive functioning disability had a higher risk of violent victimization than persons with any other type of disability.
• Persons with more than one type of disability accounted for about 56% of all violent crime victimizations against those with any disability.
• Nearly 1 in 5 violent crime victims with a disability believed that they became a victim because of their disability.
• Victims with a disability perceived offenders to be under the influence of either alcohol or drugs in about a third of all violent crimes against them.
• Violent crime victims with or without a disability were equally as likely to face an armed offender, report the crime to the police, or suffer an injury.