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COVID-19 Survivor Impact Brief: People with Disabilities Survivors

NCJ Number
Date Published
April 2020
4 pages
This brief presents an overview of how the strategies for preventing and treating COVID-19 have increased criminal victimization risks and barriers to victim services for people with disabilities.
The brief first discusses how circumstances related to the COVID-19 pandemic have placed people with disabilities at heightened risk for violence and abuse. It notes that people with disabilities experiencing abuse at home are being secluded with their abusers for extended periods of time with fewer opportunities for detection of the abuse and receiving needed services. This includes seclusion in long-term care facilities where family members and other community service providers are prevented from having contact with disabled residents. A second issue of concern discussed in this brief is the compounding of existing histories of trauma among disabled persons as anxieties about health, increasing barriers to contact with healthcare workers, and fears of abuse are magnified. A third issue discussed pertains to increased isolation that limits opportunities for intervention from visitors to long-term care facilities, the closing of day-care programs, and cessation of regular in-person visits from family and friends. A fourth issue discussed relates to barriers to victim services that are amplified during the COVID-19 pandemic. With in-person services limited, initiating services with victim-service providers, court systems, and other responders requires the use of various technologies to gain information and personalized advice. Various disabilities can prevent the use of such technologies.