safe community settings where they get little health care, have access to few social services, and are easy targets for criminal predators. Fully a third (34 percent) of adults with disabilities live in households with a total income of $15,000 or less, compared with only 12 percent of those without disabilities (Harris, 1998).
Because of a growing concern among parents and advocates regarding possible high rates of crime victimization among persons with developmental disabilities, Congress, through the Crime Victims with Disabilities Awareness Act of 1998, requested that the National Research Council of the National Academy of Sciences:
conduct a study to increase knowledge and information about crimes against individuals with developmental disabilities that will be useful in developing new strategies to reduce the incidence of crimes against those individuals. The study . . . shall address such issues as: (1) the nature and extent of crimes against individuals with developmental disabilities; (2) the risk factors associated with victimization of individuals with developmental disabilities; (3) the manner in which the justice system responds to crimes against individuals with disabilities; and (4) the means by which states may establish and maintain a centralized computer database on the incidence of crimes against individuals with disabilities within a state.
Because of the scarcity of empirical research on these issues, the National Research Council and the U.S. Department of Justice agreed that the best way to fulfill this mandate was to convene a workshop, rather than a full-scale study, to bring together researchers, practitioners, legal scholars, and advocates to discuss the state of knowledge in this area and highlight gaps in the research. This report provides details of important issues that were discussed at the workshop but, under National Research Council rules for workshop reports, does not draw definitive conclusions nor make recommendations.
For the purposes of this request, the legislation further defined developmental disabilities, in accordance with P.L. 42 § 6001(8), as follows:
The term developmental disability means a severe, chronic disability of an individual 5 years of age or older that is attributable to a mental or physical impairment or combination of mental and physical impairments; is manifested before the individual attains age 22; is likely to continue indefinitely; results in substantial functional limitations in three or more of the following areas of major life activity—self-care; receptive and expressive language; learn-