What is the importance of place and context in understanding crimes against the developmentally disabled, as well as other vulnerable groups, and how can we better understand the dynamics and interaction of caregiver, victim, and context in order to provide improved public safety for this population?
How can statistics on the victimization of vulnerable populations, including the developmentally disabled, be developed or improved?
How do the justice and social service systems currently respond to crimes against the developmentally disabled, and how can that response be improved?
Because of the lack of research in this area, the studies of victimization cited by workshop paper authors in this report are few, and most have major methodological flaws. They frequently lack well-designed sampling frames, validated interview methods and protocols, and control groups. For these reasons, no firm conclusions about the major questions contained in the legislation cited above can be drawn from them.
Still, these studies do document a serious victimization problem among people with developmental disabilities. While we cannot draw valid comparisons with victimization rates for other groups, both the nature of the crimes directed against the population with disabilities and the level of harm these crimes inflict suggest to the paper authors and the editors of this report that better research is necessary if society is to protect these most vulnerable citizens. It is in this context that the results of extant research on the victimization of people with disabilities are discussed.